Lost Chronicles II: One World

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 201 - Kingdom of Steel

Zelda Kasuto



Massive buildings tore themselves across the nearby horizon with their bizarre shapes, several of them appearing to be leafless trees rather than construction of mankind. We had crossed over into the border of Cherifia Territory just the other day. It was quite warm, almost as hot as the desert kingdom due to the sun reflecting off the many metallic buildings and into the land. In fact, the majority of the population for this territory consisted of Machine and Android Digimon like Andromon. There weren’t very many Humans, and many of them were mechanics in order to assist the mechanical Digimon with whatever malfunctions they might have.

“This place is like a maze,” Statuedramon said. Around us, Mia, Giselle, Celtinemon, and Reapermon all nodded in agreement. “We’ll have to be careful; none of us have been here before, and there aren’t any cities. It’s like this whole territory is one big city…”

“Thanks to our connection with Omnimon, we were always able to count on Cherifia as an ally, but we’ve still never met the king and queen,” I said. “QueenChessmon and KingChessmon…”

“W-Wait…KingChessmon? Are you sure?” Mia asked. “Hold on…Lizzy told me that she fought against him! Back when we were fighting against Daemon, she fought against him with Eleanora and Sparrow! Is that guy really the king of this place?!”

“Yes…I’ve heard a rumor that the king of Cherifia has been missing for a while; no doubt his alliance with Daemon is to blame,” I said. “Was KingChessmon killed in that battle?”

“No; Lizzy said he just ran away. He was too much of a coward to stay and fight,” Mia said.

“That makes sense; tales of the queen’s valor has spread far and wide throughout the kingdoms,” Reapermon said. “QueenChessmon herself travels just as far to help even total strangers from all kinds of perilous situations.”

“Wow…she sounds just like Lucia!” Giselle said in awe.

“Yeah; except she doesn’t have a violent streak like our Lucy,” Mia sighed. “I’ve heard that she’s as nice and gentle as Larraine!”

“She is; a real hero, that queen. Bold and caring,” Reapermon said sadly.

“Is something wrong, Reapermon?” I asked.

“…You’ll understand when we reach the castle,” Reapermon responded.

“Castle? There is no castle. The queen lives alone in this scrap-heap of iron you see before you.” A tall man, muscular and shirtless, walked up to our group.

“M-May I ask for your name?” I asked. And…did he say the queen lives alone? Everything’s coming together, slowly and steadily… except more slow and less steady. How annoying…

“Yeah. The name’s Craig; part of the Cherifia Royal Army,” the man said, adjusting the violet bandana covering his raven hair. “The queen’s inside right now. Did you have an appointment to see her?”

“We do not, but it is important that we speak with her,” Reapermon said. “We are representatives from the mercenary guild Lachesis.”

“Ah, yeah, I’ve heard of you guys. Honored to finally get to meet you!” Craig exclaimed, sounding excited and coolly casual at the same time as he fiddled around with a wrench in his hands. “Yeah, you guys are almost as famous as our king!”

“And…what of your queen?” I asked.

“Huh? Oh, right, I guess you haven’t heard yet; our brave king has been missing in action for a little while now. Actually, I’m surprised you haven’t heard yet. Big news around here,” Craig said.

Brave…king?! I thought their queen was the fighter! What is going on here?!

“Such a shame; KingChessmon was a real legend around here. Without him, our queen’s been all sad; kinda disheartening, really,” Craig sighed.

“W-Wait…I thought it was the queen who was the brave fighter,” Giselle said.

“Ha! Who’ve you been gossiping with, cutie? The queen’s a coward! I mean, she’s a total sweetheart and all, but a raindrop in a rainstorm could scare QueenChessmon!” Craig laughed. “But anyway, since the king’s gone missing — probably during some heroic battle — QueenChessmon hasn’t exactly been high-spirited, you know?”

“Yes, I can understand that. But, will the queen be willing to visit with us?” I asked.

“Oh, sure; I’ve actually heard her say she’s wanted to meet with you for quite some time now, even before the king’s gone missing. C’mon.” In a swift motion, Craig fastened his wrench to his belt, and began to lead us to the ‘scrap-heap’ he mentioned earlier.

“Wait, just like that?” Celtinemon asked. “No…waiting in line, or protocol, or anything…?”

“Nah; Cherifia is rather laid back, it’s mostly Machine Digimon here, so extra security isn’t necessary,” Craig said, shoving open the large metal doors before him, and were greeted by a small group of Digimon. “…Ah! Speak of the Devimon, here are some of those Machine Digimon! The big blue guy over there? That’s my own partner, Ballistamon!”

“Hey, who’re these guys? Here to see the queen?” the Ballistamon asked. Around him, a MetalMamemon, BishopChessmon, and RookChessmon all glanced up at us.

“That’s the story; mercenaries from Lachesis,” Craig answered.

“…Are you certain of their story?” the BishopChessmon asked. “I’ve heard of their guild, but how certain are you that they are from the mercenary guild? You should exude more caution, Craig.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it; if Craig thinks it’s them, then they probably are the real deal!” Ballistamon added.

“…You two are fools. Without our king, our queen is our kingdom’s last line of defense! Should something befall her, Cherifia will fall into utter chaos!” BishopChessmon yelled. “With Examon away as well, we are all there is to protect our queen!”

“Calm yourself, older brother,” RookChessmon said calmly. “If they have business with our queen, we should let them by. Nothing ill will befall her or Cherifia by simply allowing that.”

“Hmph…I’m surrounded by witless fools,” BishopChessmon sighed, lowering his head.

“Oh, don’t be like that! Just let ‘em see the queen already! If it’s something important, then we’re just delaying them for no good reason!” MetalMamemon said. “Go on! The queen’s right in that room over there! Metal Smirk Bomb!” MetalMamemon pointed his arm at a pair of large metal doors, and blasted them open.

“M-MetalMamemon! Why in the Goddess’s name would you do something like that?!” BishopChessmon asked.

“Don’t worry; those doors are old and worn down. Something like that won’t break them! If anything, I probably fixed ‘em!” MetalMamemon exclaimed.

“That’s not what I meant! The queen is beyond those doors! What if you had hit her?!” BishopChessmon screamed.

“…Just go in. The others will keep arguing for a while,” RookChessmon sighed.

“My knights are arguing again? Whatever could be the problem this time?” A tall Digimon stepped through smoldering doors MetalMamemon had blasted.

“M-My queen! How fare you on this day?” BishopChessmon asked quickly, immediately bowing before the Digimon after he had finished firing an attack at MetalMamemon.

“This is QueenChessmon?” I asked.

“Yup, the one and only,” Craig said. “You wanted to see her? Well, here she is.”

“I heard you speaking from the other room, even before MetalMamemon was kind enough to open the doors,” QueenChessmon said. Her voice was calm and gentle, and the manner with which she carried herself, from her voice to her graceful movements and mannerisms all befitting a queen. “You are from Lachesis, aren’t you?”

“Y-Yes, milady; um…I’m not really sure where to begin,” I said quietly.

“Take your time, my dear; I’m sure there’s plenty of time,” QueenChessmon said gently.

“Well, um, the thing is, we really don’t,” I said. “Have you heard of IceDevimon before? We’re afraid he might be coming after you and the other royals. We wanted to come here before anything bad happened.”

“…IceDevimon? He’s really on his way?” QueenChessmon asked.

“More or less. The truth is, they’re after a specific gemstone that may be in your possession,” Reapermon said.

“A…gemstone? I don’t have anything like that. But, why would the legendary IceDevimon be after something like that?” QueenChessmon asked.

“We aren’t too sure of the details yet, I’m afraid; there’s some kind ancient magic involved with them that IceDevimon is after, and we think all the royals of Celosia Province may have one,” I said. “Emperor Tso Lan had one; he asked that we protect it from his errant brother.”

“A Digimon called Anubismon first alerted us to the presence of the magic within him, and that IceDevimon would soon go after them,” Reapermon added.

“…I see. Well, as I said earlier, I haven’t got any sort of gemstone in my possession,” QueenChessmon. “…There is a possibility that my husband may have had one…”

“Do you mean KingChessmon?” Mia asked.

“Indeed, young lady; as you may have heard, KingChessmon has gone missing after, well, going into battle,” QueenChessmon said unsteadily.

I wonder if she knows about him…If she does, then she may very well have been working for Daemon as well!

“…My lady…Just how much do you really know about your husband?” Reapermon asked. “There is such kindness in your voice…I cannot believe that you would be involved with someone like Daemon.”

“Daemon…? Who might that be?” QueenChessmon asked.

Hm…She seems genuinely unaware of him. I guess she hasn’t heard his name before after all. That’s a relief…

The tall Digimon glanced over at her knights, who had all gone back to arguing amongst themselves the moment their queen started speaking to us. “…Since you are outsiders, you may know this, but…My husband is rather…cowardly. I am often away on missions to help those in need.”

“Yes, that’s what we’ve heard, but we were told the opposite by one of your knights,” I said.

“Indeed…That is the story KingChessmon has been feeding to the public,” QueenChessmon said. “He’s been telling all of our knights and people that he’s the one going around helping others, despite his true, hidden nature. I never really minded; I was never in it for the fame.”

“That sounds about right; Lizzy told me that KingChessmon was really wimpy,” Mia said.

“Yes; this is a rather…accurate way of putting it,” QueenChessmon sighed. “I never knew why he did it, and I never once questioned him. You know…I just don’t know what to make of his extended absence. But, now that you’re telling me IceDevimon may be involved, I’m beginning to understand further. I believe it may be possible that my husband may have one of those gemstones you earlier mentioned.”

“Really?! Are you certain of this?!” Reapermon asked.

“Absolutely not; I only stated it as a possibility,” QueenChessmon said. “Since he’s been gone for so long, I’d write off anything as being possible…even his death.”

“His death…?”

“…You must understand, my dear, that my husband and I were not bound by marriage for the sake of love. Our marriage was arranged for some political stunt by our parents, and we’ve never even had children. Now do you understand why I spend so much time away? I’d rather help people than spend my time with some man who doesn’t love me,” QueenChessmon said quietly. “…I’m sorry…I don’t have any valuable information to offer you, Lachesis. Please, forgive me for failing you…”

“QueenChessmon, you’ve done nothing of the sort. Please, don’t apologize for a lack of information. But, with IceDevimon running on the loose, I must ask that you be careful from here on,” I said.

“Yes…I will. And I wish you luck on your search for the gemstones,” QueenChessmon said.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 202 - Union of the Snake

Flamedramon



Elphierr Territory is the southernmost territory of Celosia Province, the hottest and the closest to the desert province. The people in the bazaar we walked through acted in a similar manner as the desert dwellers, due to their dwellings harsh environments, wearing the same thin and light clothing and avoiding direct sunlight as much as possible. Physically, I felt right at home in such an environment, but any time spent in the desert always brought up bad memories from my past.

“…How is everyone holding up?” I asked. Behind me, Matthew, Elizabeth, and Tamiko all dragged their feet through the sand, all of them drenched in sweat looking beyond exhausted. Coronamon, Quetzalmon, and Kentaurosmon had a similar look of exhaustion in their eyes, but otherwise didn’t look anywhere near as exhausted as their partners. “We can stop to rest for a while if you’d like.”

“N-No…that won’t be…necessary,” Tamiko whispered. Of the six, she was the furthest behind, and was on the verge of collapse.

“My lady, do you need a ride?” Kentaurosmon asked.

“No, I’m…I’m fine,” Tamiko said. Her face seemed both bright red and pale at the same time, and her entire body was drenched in sweat, far more so than the others. “I’m…fine…” Tamiko’s lips mouthed one more word, and then collapsed to the ground.

“TAMIKO!” Kentaurosmon immediately knelt down to his liege, and picked her up gently off of the sand. “My lady…My lady, please wake up!”

“Kentaurosmon, she’ll be fine,” I said. “She just needs to rest. Don’t shake her up too much.”

“Flamedramon…her fever is getting really high, and it’s more than just from the current temperature!” Kentaurosmon exclaimed. “She needs to see a healer immediately!”

“Relax; there are plenty of healers here in Elphierr!” I said. “I’ve heard this happens to people frequently, so there are many doctors ready to aid them.”

“Then let’s hurry and find one! Her fever’s getting worse!” Kentaurosmon snapped. The Mega Digimon gently placed Tamiko on his back, and charged forward through the bazaar in a near-craze.

“…Quetzalmon, place Elizabeth, Coronamon, and Matthew on your back. We’ll need to be quick to chase after him,” I sighed.

“Yes, master,” Quetzalmon said in a surprisingly obedient voice, slithering in between Elizabeth’s legs to carry her on his back.

“…Must you always carry me in such a manner?” Elizabeth asked as Matthew and Coronamon climbed onto the Digimon’s back.

“Yes. I must!” Quetzalmon exclaimed.

“And…why is that?” Elizabeth asked.

“…I don’t know,” Quetzalmon said. “Just go with it, okay?”

“Fine…Just don’t go too far up with your head, understood?”

“Enough talking; we need to catch up with Kentaurosmon,” I said. “Tamiko’s the only thing on his mind every day of the week; he’s likely to do more harm than good for the task at hand.” About a yard away, Kentaurosmon reared up and busted open two large golden doors with his front hooves, and then charged in. “See what I mean…?” I sighed. Quetzalmon and I walked slowly through the doors after him, and into a massive outdoor garden. “…Oh no…This better not be where I think it is…”

“Is this a castle courtyard?” Matthew asked.

“Yeah…and this isn’t just any castle…this is the capital city of Elphierr Territory, so this is where the Queen lives,” I said quietly. “And Kentaurosmon just barged in, unannounced. Yeah, we’re going to get in trouble…” I spotted Kentaurosmon up head, standing completely still. “What’s wrong now?”

“…Let’s just say that you were right about everything you said about me,” Kentaurosmon said. “It looks like I’ve barged into some place that I shouldn’t have. You shouldn’t have followed me…” A massive spear flew through the air and buried itself in the ground just inches away from Kentaurosmon; the dirt around the spear’s tip dissolved and faded away.

“Was that spear…poisoned?” I asked.

“Yesssss…and I was the one who fired it,” a raspy voice said. A large Digimon spiraled around a golden column from the corner of my eye; a pair of vicious jaws rushed past my head, just barely missing me.

“A Sandiramon!” I exclaimed. “Poisonous snakes…”

“Preccccccisely,” the Sandiramon hissed. “By order of our leader, none shall enter thissssss cassssstle! Now, perish!”

“Listen; my partner is having a heat stroke, and I will see that she recovers! Take us to a healer at once!” Kentaurosmon ordered.

“You fool…do you know where it isssssss that you’ve ssssssset foot?” Sandiramon asked. “You won’t live to regret your deccccccison!” A bolt of blue lightning struck the ground before us, and right next to it, a swirl of flames erupted from the ground. “Ahh…welcome back, boysssss!”

“…I see we have some intruders,” a voice emanated from the lightning bolt.

“You’ve been slacking, Sandiramon!” another voice from the flames growled.

Those voices; they sound like Beast Digimon, I thought. Two Digimon, Raidramon and Lynxmon, stepped forward, glaring at Kentaurosmon. Sandiramon slithered his way towards the two, and faced us as well. “You all look pretty confident for being outnumbered.”

“Doessssssn’t matter; we were given our orderssssss, and we fill fulfill them!” Sandiramon hissed.

“We are outnumbered; we are weaker. Still, we shall win!” Lynxmon roared.

“Our conviction to win is greater; therein lies our victory!” Raidramon added.

“Do not count out the power of my conviction! My friend is on the verge of death, and I will find her a healer!” Kentaurosmon bellowed.

“That isssss not our concccccern, intruderssssss!” Sandiramon yelled. “Venom Axe!”

“Thermal Mane!”

“Thunder Blast!” Kentaurosmon held up his shield to block the oncoming attacks, but was pushed back by their force.

“D-Damn it…I will…protect…my partner!” Kentaurosmon shouted.

“Hold on! Fire Rocket!” I jumped headfirst into Lynxmon’s flames, using them to strengthen my own attack before crashing into the beast.

“Freezing Wave!”

“Corona Flame!” The two attacks of Quetzalmon and Coronamon collided with Raidramon’s lightning, pushing back the attack of the other beast. With no other attack holding him back, Kentaurosmon charged forth, picking up Sandiramon’s axe and striking the Exalted Beast with it.

“…Well, that wasn’t so hard,” I said, standing above Lynxmon’s unconscious body. Across the courtyard, the combined efforts of Quetzalmon and Coronamon managed to overpower Raidramon’s attacks, taking out the other beast.

“N…No…we…we failed…ssssssso eassssssily,” Sandiramon whispered. “Who…jussssst who are you? No ordinary banditssssss…”

“We aren’t bandits, you idiot. We are from the mercenary guild Lachesis!” I said firmly.

“…Ah! You…we’ve heard of you,” Sandiramon said. “Ssssssorry…We were vissssited frequently by banditssssss in the recent past…We jussssst thought…”

“You didn’t think, dear Sandiramon. You jumped to conclusions, as you usually do,” a woman’s voice said. A tall woman with long silver hair walked from behind me and over to the large snake.

“Mira…”

“Shh, don’t talk; you need your rest,” the woman said gently, placing her hand on the side of Sandiramon’s face. “Warriors of Lachesis, I ask that you forgive the hasty actions of our Digimon partners. I am Mira, a knight of Elphierr Territory. Please, believe me when I say that my dear Sandiramon is much more mild mannered than you may have seen today.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” I said. “I apologize for Kentaurosmon barging in unannounced, but his own partner is suffering from heatstroke, and we need to find a healer as soon as we can.”

“Oh, the poor thing; I understand,” Mira said. “Come; we’ll bring her inside. Castle Elphierr treats many people with the same ailment. I assure you she will be fine in no time.”
Silvanna



Upon Lucia’s departure, my home seemed even quieter than it normally did. Rather than my usual training, I took the afternoon off to think about the things she and her group had told me. I had read of IceDevimon many times in my time, along with many other demons, in my parent’s expansive library. To think that somebody with such horrifying power was truly walking the earth…

“Silvanna…” I looked out my window, and saw the blue sky of day turn pure white. Excited, I ran outside and saw the massive silver wings of my partner Digimon. “Silvanna…are you home?”

“Valdurmon!” The immense Holy Bird alighted to the ground before me in all her radiant glory. “Valdurmon, what are you doing here?” I asked.

“You know me; I’m a guardian of the sky. I can sense when evil stirs the very air,” Valdurmon said. “I didn’t need to be nearby when Lucia and the others arrived. I know…that evil is approaching…” Valdurmon’s eyes were the saddest that I had ever seen them. The large Digimon completely dwarfed me and my house; even her feathers were close to the size of a mountain. “If you like, I could take you far away from this place…”

“Not going to happen, Valdurmon. I’m not going to turn tail and run away while Lucia, of all people, stands her ground and keeps fighting,” I said. “That girl…she’s always been so pushy. To think, she was next in line to become master of that guild before Flamedramon returned…Or so she claimed in all her letters to me, at least.”

“Silvanna, you know I love to reminisce as much as you do, but…”

“Is there a problem, Valdurmon?” I asked.

“The reason I came to you…my warning to you…You must heed it very soon,” Valdurmon said cryptically. “You were told that IceDevimon is going after the gemstones; this is true, in a sense. But it is much more than him; he has sent many armies to retrieve them.”

“Valdurmon, what are you trying to tell me?” Valdurmon opened her beak to reply, but as soon as she did, a burst of flames erupted from beyond a near hill; what looked like a wave of magma spilled over the edge of it, along with an explosion of flames in the sky.

“Those armies; they’re on their way here at this moment,” Valdurmon said. My heart sank. I looked closer, and saw that the wave of magma was just a massive hoard of Salamandermon, while in the sky, a flock of Birdramon followed along. It was indeed an army; an army of fire. All at once, Valdurmon and I had become completely surrounded, both on the ground and in the air.

“Valdurmon, what are we going to do?” I asked.

“Grab on to my leg, quick!” Valdurmon shrieked. I quickly grabbed Valdurmon’s leg, and my Digimon partner quickly and forcefully thrusted her six shining wings and shot past all of the Birdramon. The Birdramon and Salamandermon all blasted fire towards us, but even with her large size, Valdurmon was able to easily maneuver around all of the fireballs. “Aurora Undulation!” A wave of golden light extended from her wingtips, blasting away all of the Birdramon in a single strike. As Valdurmon flew past, the form of a massive Digimon emerged from the flock of Birdramon.

“A Garudamon…? That one’s huge!” I whispered to myself. “And it has brown feathers, too; this isn’t an ordinary Digimon…”

“The Red Gemstone…hand it over!” the Garudamon roared. “I know you have it, Silvanna!”

“…Come over here and get it, big guy!” I screamed back. “Do your worst!”

“I fully intend to! Wing Blade!”

“Hang on tight, Silvanna! Purge Shine!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 203 - The Girl with Amber Hair

Flamedramon



“…Mmm …? Oh…where…am I?” Tamiko asked.

“My lady! Are you feeling okay? Are you unharmed?” Kentaurosmon asked hurriedly. “Have you recovered?”

“Y-Yes…? But whatever happened?”

“You passed out; heatstroke, apparently,” I said. “We’ve made it to Elphierr Castle. You’re in their infirmary right now. We’re waiting for an audience with the queen and princess.”

“You don’t have much longer to wait, dear; my brother, Arkis, is speaking with them now about your arrival,” Mira said.

“…Speaking? You mean, done speaking with, little sister,” a new voice said. I turned around, and saw that another man had entered the room, along with another Digimon standing behind him. “Mira, Queen Nagimon is coming over here to visit the bedridden visitor. And you, Flamedramon…”

“Yes…? Do you have something to say?” I asked.

Don’t get so fresh with my little sister!” the man hissed.

“W-What?! What the hell are you talking about?!” I asked.

“Oh, don’t worry about it, Arkis; Mr. Flamedramon isn’t doing anything like that,” Mira said in a calm and cheerful voice. “Besides, he has a wife and son! He’s not chatting me up!”

“…I see. Then, you!” Arkis turned his head and glared at Matthew. “You’d better not get any ideas!”

“N-No sir! My heart belongs to another,” Matthew said nervously.

“Arkis, stop it; nobody here was trying to flirt with me!” Mira exclaimed.

“And I fully intend to keep it that way!” Arkis snapped. Around us, a breeze began to pick up as though we were outdoors.

Did we leave a window open? No, wait — this guy, he’s a wind mage! He’s powerful, too; I can sense it…

“Arkis, calm yourself!” the Digimon standing behind the wind mage barked. “We shall not be seen as antagonistic towards ambassadors of this guild!”

“Y-Yes sir…Sorry, sir,” Arkis whispered.

“…What is your name?” I asked. “You look…kinda like me…”

“My name is Magnamon,” the Digimon said. “The reason I look similar to you is because we are both Armor Digivolutions of the same Digimon.”

“I see…”

“Now, you must calm yourself, Knight Errant Arkis; her majesty Queen Nagimon is on her way to this infirmary. You mustn’t make a scene of yourself, you fool,” Magnamon said. “Always remember, you are a noble knight of Elphierr Territory. Do not disrespect your title!”

“Yes, understood,” Arkis said casually, not even looking Magnamon in the eyes as he spoke.

“If I may ask…what is Queen Nagimon like?” Tamiko whispered in a tired voice. “Is she…a good queen…? I’ve never known…a kind ruler…”

“You must be kidding! Where have you been all of your life?!” Arkis exclaimed.

“Please, excuse her; Tamiko is a princess from the kingdom of Cyllene far to the east,” Kentaurosmon. “Her father and aunt were both cruel to her and her brother; she is still a bit inexperienced in the ways of this continent, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, you poor thing; well, you don’t need to worry. Nagimon is a kind and loving queen; she cares about all of her knights and her subjects as though they were her own children,” Mira said. “Even the princess gets the same treatment; Princess Nora was adopted from a distant relative after both of their families were killed by bandits.”

“Hm…both the princess and the queen had their families wiped out? That’s just sick,” I said. “You wipe out bandits by the army, but still, they just keep coming and coming back…”

“It is one of the few sad truths of this world; a dissident’s creed will enable them survival,” Magnamon sighed.

“Magnamon, dear, I do wish you’d relinquish that grim outlook on life,” a gentle voice said. A female, serpentine Digimon slithered into the room, followed by a small young girl. The Digimon had the upper body of a beautiful woman, but from her waist down, she had the coiling body of a black snake.

“Oh! Queen Nagimon!” Magnamon immediately bowed to the Digimon without hesitation. “How fare you on this day, my queen?”

“Magnamon…I wish you wouldn’t change the subject whenever you feel uncomfortable. You mustn’t be so dire all the time,” Nagimon said. “Isn’t that right, Nora, dear?”

“U-Um…sure,” the small girl whispered. The girl wore a simple white minidress, and had long, golden-amber hair and deep blue eyes. From her manner of speech, she seemed rather shy.

“Now…you are from the mercenary guild Lachesis, are you not?” Nagimon asked, looking directly my way. “Aren’t you their leader, Flamedramon? Oh, our roles are similar! How pleasant!”

“Yes, milady—”

“Oh! There truly is someone in the infirmary!” Nagimon gasped, pushing past me and heading straight for Tamiko. “You poor dear; suffering so much in all this heat…”

“T-Thank you milady, but, I…I’m starting to feel better,” Tamiko said shyly.

“Lotus Elixir.” Nagimon placed her hand over Tamiko’s forehead and a pale magenta light appeared around them both. “Here you go, sweet child. Feel ill no longer, my dear…”

“…Oh! My fever’s vanishing…How did you do this, my lady?” Tamiko asked.

“I’m a healer too, my dear; my Lotus Elixir can heal any illness or injury of whomever I come into contact with,” Nagimon said.

“All healers here revere our queen as a healing goddess; they all strive to emulate her in the healing arts,” Magnamon added.

“…I’m no goddess. I’m just a queen and a mother,” Nagimon sighed. “All of my subjects are like children to me. Whenever my precious babies are harmed, I simply have to act; I cannot rest until I know they’re feeling better.”

Wow…she really is a good queen. Seems that Magnamon wasn’t just fawning over her. I guess I was the lucky one after all, coming here. I’d hate to have gotten stuck going all the way to ice-cold Valneva…No, having to speak to Omnimon would be a major pain as well, I guess, even if we can count on him as an ally.

“Oh…I’m sorry, Flamedramon. I didn’t mean to suddenly ignore you!” Nagimon exclaimed. “Now, why is it that your guild decided to grace us with your presence?”

“Right…Have you heard of IceDevimon before?” I asked. Immediately, Nagimon’s smile faded; her serpentine body twitched slightly at the tail, and she placed an arm around Nora’s tiny shoulders protectively. Around us, Mira, Arkis, and Magnamon had all fallen silent, and were instantly ordered out of the room by their queen.

“…Yes, I have,” Nagimon whispered. “And I met him once.”

“Y-You…you met with that evil bastard?!” I gasped. “How did you survive?! Did…he even notice you…?”

“…It was a few weeks ago. He came to visit me…No, it would be more accurate to say that he came to visit little Nora here,” Nagimon whispered. “…He knew you would all split up and visit the royals of Celicia to locate the gemstones. I just didn’t think you’d visit so soon for that very reason…”

“Why was IceDevimon visiting the princess? He didn’t threaten her, did he?!” I asked.

“No. Quite the opposite,” Nagimon said. “…He invited her back into his army.”

“…He…WHAT?!”

“M-Mother…perhaps I should be the one to tell them this story,” Nora said quietly. “I-I…Well…”

“Are you sure you can do this? You’re so shy around strangers,” Nagimon whispered.

“No…It should be me,” Nora said. “I…used to be a servant of IceDevimon. Not directly, but…Well, I guess a servant of a servant of IceDevimon…? S-Something like that, I think…”

“Your master; what was their name?” I asked.

“I-I…actually don’t know my master’s name; only her army,” Nora said quietly. “The Exquisite Army. That army searches in vain for their lady’s jewel; that one rose-colored stone holds their master’s soul within.”

“The jewels…they hold the souls of IceDevimon’s servants?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes. There are fourteen of them total; thus, fourteen powerful Digimon, and fourteen powerful armies that serve them. IceDevimon sought me out because he knew that they would be revived soon, which will happen when the jewels are gathered in the same place by one who’s heart is pure malice.”

“Hmm…It sounds like it would be best to keep them all separated,” I said.

“Maybe, but fate has a way of moving back to its original course, live a river,” Nora said. “It would be best to have them destroyed, but that would prove as difficult as destroying the Digimon that lurks within. It may prove better to gather them ourselves and protect them as one rather than divide them and our strength.”

“I suppose…”

“…Regardless, IceDevimon didn’t get what he came here for. Not my loyalty…and not the gemstone I safeguard.” Nora reached into her satchel and pulled out a brilliantly shining yellow gem. “This yellow jewel…it is being hunted for by the Thunder Army. Fortunately, their whereabouts are currently unknown. I was lucky enough to have found this gem in the Savage Prairie, not long before Lady Nagimon adopted me…”

“Right, I’ve been meaning to ask…Lady Nagimon, why—?”

“Why did I adopt one of IceDevimon’s servants? Well, I’ll try to shorten it as much as I can,” Nagimon said, interrupting me. “This is not something that any of our knights know about; I simply told them that Nora is a relative of mine and that her family was killed by bandits. But the truth is, as a part of the Exquisite Army, Nora was tasked with killing the nobles of Elphierr Territory and finding their jewel. And…that’s just what she did. She…killed all of my family. All by herself. My husband, and my two sons. That was five years ago.”

“No…After all that…she became a part of your family?!” I exclaimed. Man, royals sure are weird…

“I could tell right away that she wasn’t evil,” Nagimon whispered gently, running her hands through Nora’s amber hair. “She has a heart filled with purity and innocence. I asked her why she did…what she did. She said it so simply, so sweetly…”

“…I was told they were evil,” Nora said quietly, looking down and away from everyone in the room.

“It’s more than that, dear. Her soul, her very life, was manipulated by those fiends in her army. Her sense of right and wrong was so twisted that she didn’t know which was which any longer. She only wanted to do good with her life, and that’s what she thought she always did while she was with them. I couldn’t help but forgive her. She’s never known what it’s like a family herself, so I gave her one.”

“I’ll never be able to fully forgive myself for what I did on that day…”

…This is the evil of IceDevimon. This is his evil…and we cannot allow it to spread, no matter the cost. “My lady Nagimon; if it would please you, then my comrades and I will stay here and help you to safeguard that gemstone from the forces of IceDevimon.”

“I had a feeling you were going to ask that; and I accept your offer. Since it’s IceDevimon we’re talking about, my own forces will need all the help they can get, no matter how strong they are,” Nagimon said. “Flamedramon, I thank you for aid, and I look forward to working with you further.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 204 - Legions of Ice

Loralyn Syra’an

Lachesis



The guild always seemed quiet and empty when the main forces left on large missions such as these. Right now, Heather, Madelyn, Alphonse, and Wisemon all sat around the lounge with me, all of our thoughts undoubtedly on the same subject. I glanced at Heather and Madelyn, who sat huddled together on a sofa across from a soft chair I sat in. Heather seemed quite calm and confident, but Madelyn looked uncertain as she nestled closer to her mother; Lloyd was her father, after all, and they haven’t reunited for very long, and after the life Madelyn lived in Cyllene, I knew she couldn’t help but fear the worst.

“…I wonder how Mia’s doing,” Alphonse sighed.

“That’s the third time you’ve asked that since lunch, dear,” Heather giggled. “I’m sure she’s doing just fine; her group was heading to Cherifia, the kingdom of steel, remember? They’re the most laid-back kingdom of the lot, so I’m certain she’s in no real danger.”

“Yeah, I know…I just wish I could’ve gone with her,” Alphonse replied.

“It would do us no good to divvy up our fighting force any further than we already have. You and Heather are the only fighters here,” Wisemon said. “I doubt anything will happen, but it still puts me on edge to have this small a defense remaining at our base.”

“Well, it’s like you said, wise-guy; you don’t think anything’s going to happen,” Alphonse said.

“Hmph. Fair enough; I haven’t received any foreboding premonitions for this day,” Wisemon said testily. “For now, I’ll take that as a good sign, but the future is constantly changing, so we should still be careful.”

“Forget about the future! I say we should just worry about now! Worrying about the future can come after we’ve made sure there is one!” Alphonse retorted.

“While there is some logic in your words, saying such things has a tendency to move destiny down its undesired path—”

“Oh, enough about your talk of history and destiny! That’s all you ever talk about!” Alphonse snapped. I sighed, and looked down at the floor, at my feet planted firmly on the cool stone floor; much colder, really, than it normally felt. Heather simply laughed quietly at the ongoing bickering between Alphonse and Wisemon, which had been going on since most of the others had left. I sighed once again, and nearly gasped when I saw my white breath escape past my lips.

Why is it so…cold in here?! Suddenly, I rose to my feet, and glared all around the room.

“Loralyn? Is something wrong, dear?” Heather asked.

“…Both of you, shut the fuck up right now!” I screamed at Alphonse and Wisemon, taking them both by surprise.

“Loralyn, what’s wrong?” Heather whispered.

“We…have visitors,” I replied. “And it isn’t our friends. Can’t you sense it? Can’t you feel how cold it is right now?”

“…Now that you mention it…It is the middle of the afternoon, and it’s still quite chilly,” Wisemon noted. “Loralyn…I can see your breath!”

“I know…They’ve come back,” I said to myself. “…The ones who chased me to this fortress on that day…”

“You were chased? I thought you were simply banished from Lotisea,” Alphonse said.

“No…on my way, I was found and attacked. That was one day before Dominimon and Edmund found me,” I said.

“Well, who found and attacked you? Are they the source of this sudden drop in temperature?” Wisemon asked. As soon as he asked, a field of ice raced across the ground and covered it completely before moving up the walls.

“This…is it. They’ve all found me again,” I whispered.

“Alphonse! With me!” Heather ordered. “Wisemon, keep Madelyn safe!”

“Understood,” the Digimon nodded.

“And you, Loralyn…stay close to me. Tell me whatever you know about these guys,” Heather said, gently grabbing onto my wrist and pulling me closer to her. I nodded and smiled at the older woman, and followed her and Alphonse out of the fortress and into an army of Frigimon.

“…Yeah…it’s them,” I whispered. “I can’t believe they found me; it’s been almost a year…”

“These…? These are the ones who chased you?” Heather asked. “But they’re so cute!”

“Careful, lovely; Frigimon are strong in the cold, and they’re making it colder,” Alphonse replied. The Summoner removed his coat and tossed it over at me, which I gladly put on myself as the air became colder and colder. “I’ll blast ‘em all to snowflakes! Come forth, Tankmon!”

“Oh yeah! Line them all up, and I’ll knock them down in one attack!” the Android Digimon exclaimed the moment he appeared. “Machine Gun Arm!”

“Pathetic.” Only one of the Frigimon, the largest of the pack, stepped forward and held out his large hands. Instantly, Tankmon froze over completely and shattered to pieces. “Princess Loralyn Syra’an…It certainly has been a while.”

“Yes, almost an entire year since the day you found me,” I replied coolly. “And, almost an entire year since the day you lost me.”

“Don’t you dare tempt me, you little bitch,” the Frigimon hissed. “I’ve been ordered to keep you alive until we get what we want from you. And if you don’t put up much of a fuss, we’ll even let you live.”

“…I always knew you would come back for me one day,” I sighed. “You’ve come for my jewel, haven’t you…”

“What?! Loralyn, you have a jewel?!” Alphonse exclaimed.

“I was going to tell you all later. You know…in all honesty, I don’t expect anyone will have very much luck finding these gemstones. I was going to save mine as a surprise when they all returned,” I said, almost laughing at my foolish notions. “These Frigimon…they’re a small portion of an army whose master seeks my gemstone. They found me as soon as I was exiled from Lotisea, but I was able to lose them in the Cursed Woods.”

“And that won’t happen again!” Frigimon snapped. “Now, hand it over!”

“…Never. I will never surrender the Royal Jewel of Lotisea to an army of evil! Especially now that I know all the evil that this jewel contains!” I exclaimed.

“So…It seems that you’ve decided to die,” Frigimon sighed. The Icy Digimon raised an arm, and a hoard of Ikkakumon rose up from snowy ground underneath each of the Frigimon. “Everyone: CHARGE!”

“Come forth, Togemon!” Alphonse held out another talisman, calling up a new Digimon. “Quick! Take them out before they can attack!”

“You got it! Needle Spray!”

“Ikkakumon steeds and Frigimon subordinates! Fire at will!” the large Frigimon ordered. “Subzero Ice Punch!”

“Harpoon Torpedo!” The Frigimon and Ikkakumon fired their attacks before Togemon was able to, and instantly obliterated the Spirit.

“Damn it; they’re defeating Spirits left and right!” Alphonse exclaimed.

“Don’t worry, Loralyn; I’ll protect you!” Heather said. I looked up at the taller blonde. “What’s wrong, dear?”

“I…I kept something from you,” I whispered. “I—”

“Don’t worry about that, dear; you did that with good intentions,” Heather said gently. “Now, stick close. And you, Alphonse; do any of your Spirits use fire attacks?”

“Right; got it covered! Come forth, Cerberusmon!” Alphonse held out his Talisman, but the Digimon he summoned didn’t appear as it normally did.

…What’s going on? Did the Frigimon do something to stop him? I thought. No, they look worried and confused as well…

“Patience, lovely,” Alphonse whispered. The summoner held out his hand, and gasped when I saw that it was empty. “There’s more than one was to call up a Digimon Spirit, you know.” Alphonse snapped his fingers, and like that, the Dark Animal materialized behind the Ikkakumon and Frigimon.

“Emerald Blaze!” Cerberusmon opened his mouth and spewed an endless amount of deep green flames at our enemies. Many of the Frigimon and Ikkakumon were instantly obliterated the moment they were attacked, though to my dismay, the biggest leader managed to survive by abandoning his Ikkakumon steed. The ones that did escape fell into holes crafted by Cerberumon’s Portals of Darkness attack, but again, a few managed to escape, including their leader. Cerberusmon readied another Emerald Blaze attack, but like Togemon and Tankmon before him, he became covered in ice, and was instantly destroyed.

“What?! How did they get Cerberusmon too?!” Alphonse exclaimed.

“That is enough, Frigimon troops,” a large voice bellowed. Immediately, the remaining Frigimon and Ikkakumon stepped back and bowed down to make way for another. The ice-and-snow-covered ground trembled along the footsteps of an approaching giant. “Chief Frigimon…you dare to allow such weaklings get the best of you?!” A massive Digimon ripped through the trees at his soldiers’ backs, flexing his four thick arms while showing off the weapons in each hand, two axes and two hammers.

“…Colonel GlacierKorikkakumon,” the lead Frigimon whispered in a reverent tone of voice.

“Answer my question, Frigimon,” GlacierKorikkakumon said.

“I…I—!”

“SILENCE! Tundra Arrow!” GlacierKorikkakumon slammed his two hammers together, forming a spark that turned to ice and extended into a massive arrow that tore through the lead Frigimon’s chest and immediately killed the Digimon. The few remaining Frigimon and Ikkakumon all looked on in horror as their leader fell and vanished. “Loralyn. I’ll be taking your jewel now. Or…do you need another demonstration of my power?!”

“You stay away from her!” Heather snapped.

“Come forth, MetalSeadramon! Gaiomon!” Alphonse held out two more Digimon Talismans, but before he could summon his Spirits, GlacierKorikkakumon slammed his large foot on the ground, making Alphonse fall to his knees. Alphonse tried to rise back up, but GlacierKorikkakumon lowered one of his axes to the back of the summoner’s neck just close enough to keep him from moving.

“Yes…this ought to do quite nicely,” GlacierKorikkakumon murmured. “Loralyn. The jewel…or the life of your comrade. Which do you wish to keep? The stone…or the head?”

“No…”

“Oh, yes. In the name of my General, the Frost Monarch, I shall take your gem; your happiness; the lives of your friends!” GlacierKorikkakumon bellowed. “I’ll give you one minute to decide. Not much of a decision though; give it to me, and I’ll spare all your lives. Refuse…and I’ll kill your friend, and then take your jewel anyway.”

“No…don’t give it to them!” Alphonse shouted. “If they get it…well, I don’t know what will happen, but it can’t be anything good! Just run!”

“Run all you like, little bard! You cannot escape your destiny to rest in an eternal frozen slumber!” GlacierKorikkakumon said.

“LORALYN! RUN!”

“…No. No, I won’t run,” I whispered. “I…surrender. Here…this is what you sought. The jewel for the Tundra Army…”

“How kind of you, my dear. Here…the center of my palm, if you please.” GlacierKorikkakumon dropped one of his hammers to the ground with a mighty thud that cracked the ice beneath, and held out a hand almost large enough to contain my entire body. Slowly, I reached into my purse and pulled out the turquoise gemstone, and placed it into the monstrous Digimon’s hand. “Very good…this is indeed our master’s jewel. Now…say goodbye to your friend! Plasma Double Tomahawk!”

“NOOO! DON’T DO IT!!!” The axe above Alphonse’s head pulsed with electricity. Alphonse flinched when a single jolt touched the back of his neck, but he remained otherwise very still and composed. GlacierKorikkakumon raised the axe, and then swiftly lowered it. Alphonse took a deep breath in and sighed, muttering something under his breath. “ALPHONSE!!!”

“Flash Bancho Punch!”

“Ulforce Saber!” The forms of two massive Digimon flew past me overhead and collided directly into GlacierKorikkakumon, knocking the massive Beast Digimon over.

“It’s been a while, Alphonse…how have you been?” A small Digimon fluttered over next to the Summoner, helping him to stand.

“M-Marissa! I mean, BioNymphmon!” Alphonse exclaimed.

He’s…been saved…Oh, thank the Goddess…I don’t want any more blood on my hands than there already is…Oh, Alphonse…

“It seems we arrived here just in time,” another voice said. Augustus Maxwell stepped beside me and Heather, with Karatenmon standing on the other side. “You look a little confused; our guild of redemption has a few more additions. Meet BanchoLeomon, one of Zelda’s old Spirits, and UlforceVeedramon, a knight of Cyllene, like myself.”

“You guys certainly like showing up at the last second,” Alphonse said, joining us. “But, you, BanchoLeomon; what do you have to redeem? You were one of Zelda’s spirits; you helped her defeat Darkdramon, remember?”

“And that is precisely why I seek redemption. He was a close friend of mine, in the past,” BanchoLeomon said. “I…dealt the killing blow to him. I can only hope that his soul can achieve peace in the afterlife, but until then, I can only walk down this solitary path.”

“This is the only path for deserters,” UlforceVeedramon added. “We who broke our oaths of loyalty can only seek to atone for our misguided pasts. Hmph…and just imagine, my old superior August being one of them…once again, my superior.”

“No. There are no superiors in this guild of sorts that I have constructed,” Augustus said. “We fight together as one to vanquish the darkness! Come forth, BlackWarGreymon! Beelzemon! Premenitmon!”

“Let’s do this! Come forth, MetalSeadramon! Gaiomon!” Five Digimon Spirits materialized before us all, standing alongside UlforceVeedramon, BanchoLeomon, Karatenmon, and BioNymphmon. The nine Digimon stared down GlacierKorikkakumon and the remaining Frigimon and Ikkakumon.

“Everyone, charge!” Augustus bellowed.

“Terra Destroyer!”

“Double Impact!”

“Golden Ankh!”

“River of Power!”

“Gaia Reactor!”

“The Ray of Victory!”

“Flash Bancho Punch!”

“Feather Flare!”

“Lunar Blast!” The attacks of the nine Digimon all reached GlacierKorikkakumon at the same time, but at once, they all came to a halt.

“…What happened? Did they cancel each other out?” I asked.

“No…He’s doing something,” Augustus whispered. “Look!” I gazed at the massive Digimon, and gasped when I saw his four arms held out in front of him. Hovering in the air between his hands was the gemstone I had given him.

“Oh no…”

“Hmph. If you had known how to tap into the dark power of this jewel, it could’ve been a formidable weapon for you, Loralyn,” GlacierKorikkakumon said. “Fortunately for us…you’re too pure to do something like that.” GlacierKorikkakumon slammed his four hands together on the jewel; the attacks of the Digimon that he had halted froze over, and shattered. I looked down, and saw that my feet began to ice over. I glanced over my shoulder, and saw that Heather, Alphonse, and Augustus had completely frozen over. The five Digimon Spirits vanished immediately, and the remaining Digimon were also encased in ice. Only I remained.

“No…w-what…happened?” I asked. The ice stopped climbing one rising halfway up my belly, leaving me completely immobilized. My entire body quaked from the cold, but there wasn’t much I could do.

“…Our work here is done,” GlacierKorikkakumon said. “And you, Loralyn…thanks for all your help. Really couldn’t have done all this if you didn’t hand me my master’s jewel. As my thanks…I will keep my word and spare you and your friends, at least on this day. Until we meet again in battle, my dear…”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 205 - Lost in the Ice and Darkness

Eleanora Kasuto



Even through my boots, the slush and ice that covered the ground of the entire Valneva Territory had my feet completely numb to the point where I couldn’t even move my toes. I looked ahead of me at Abigail, who seemed to be completely unaffected by the subzero temperatures, despite being almost as inappropriately dressed for the cold as I was. At my side, AeroVeedramon trudged through the snow on all fours with Bokomon, Neemon, and Lunamon riding on his back.

“How much longer until we arrive at the castle?” AeroVeedramon asked. “I’ve missed, like, five naps since waking up this morning…”

“We’re almost there, dear,” Abigail said in a gentle voice. “We’re definitely going north. Do you see the blizzard up ahead? Once we enter that, we’ll be only a few minutes from Valneva Castle.”

Oh, great; it’s going to get even colder than it already is! I should’ve known better than to dress so lightly in this damn tundra…

“Ellie, dear, are you okay?” Abigail asked. “You can stand closer to me if you’re starting to feel cold.”

“I wish you told me that sooner,” I said through clattering teeth, instantly stepping closer to the Bio Hybrid. Immediately, she pulled me closer to her body, and I was quickly warmed as she placed her arms around my shoulders, and wrapped me around her cape. “I can understand why the Digimon are fine, but why aren’t you cold?”

“It’s probably because I’m a Bio Hybrid,” Abigail said plainly.

“But I—” I bit my tongue to keep from talking. No. I can’t let them know yet. I can’t tell them that I’m a Bio Hybrid Yukinamon; the power to slay IceDevimon in secret. And I will fulfil my promise to her; she gave me her power, it’s the least I could do for her…

“…Yes? You were saying?” Abigail asked.

“U-Um…Nothing. Never mind.” I slipped my arm around Abigail’s waist to better feel the warmth of her body. As we came closer and closer to the raging blizzard, its roar became deafening, and its chill utterly numbing.

“Stay close, AeroVeedramon; if we get lost, it could be forever,” Abigail said to the mighty dragon.

“Yeah…so long as I don’t fall asleep, I’ll be fine,” AeroVeedramon yawned. I could almost hear Lunamon and Bokomon groan over the howling wind.

“…It’s no use. Even with your body heat, Abigail, it’s still incredibly cold!” I breathed in deeply, and sighed, watching my breath escape past my near-blue lips. “My legs are trembling…”

“…Ellie…I think there’s another reason for that,” Abigail whispered. “The entire ground is shaking…”

“Ah, jeez, what now?” AeroVeedramon sighed. “My nose is picking up one nasty-ass stench…” A loud whistling echoed in the air, and a massive explosion shook the ground more violently than ever, nearly knocking the three Rookie Digimon off of AeroVeedramon’s back. “Fuck; it smells like a Mammothmon. This isn’t good…” The ground began to shake more and more violently, and the form of a massive Digimon began to take shape in the blizzard; as AeroVeedramon suspected, it was indeed a very large, white-haired Mammothmon.

“…What we gots here, eh?” A deep voice asked.

“Was that…the Mammothmon?” I asked.

“What? I’s be lookin’ likes a Mammothmons to you’s?” the voice asked again. The Mammothmon lowered its head, and I could at once the form of a large man jumping down. “I aint’s a no Mammothmons. I’s be called Vandrik! I ain’t no Digimon’s!” The man lumbered towards us; in the winds of the blizzard, he almost looked like a small Vikemon.

“Who are you?” Abigail asked.

“What, you’s being deaf? I just tell’d you, my names be Vandrik!” the man shouted. “…Oh, that’s not what you’s meaning, huh? You wanna know what I do’s, huh?”

“Y-Yes. Exactly…”

“Ah, I gets it now! Well, I’s bein’ a knights of—”

“You don’t need to know who we are!” Mammothmon bellowed. “Sometimes, it is better to keep the enemy in the darkness of the unknown!”

“Too late; I already heard what he said!” I retorted. “You’re knights of Valneva, aren’t you? In that case, we’ve been looking for you!”

“Ah! We don’ts be go talkin’ to bandits!” Vandrik yelled.

“What?! No, we’re not bandits!” I exclaimed. “We’re from—”

“You’re from Thanatos, aren’t you?! Confess, sinners!” Mammothmon shouted.

“No! We’re mercenaries from Lachesis!” Abigail said.

“Aye, it be’s just like a bandits to claim to being from a mercenary guilds,” Vandrik said. “Mammothmon, you’s be getting them now!”

“Right! Freezing Breath!”

“V-Breath Arrow!” A thin arrow of flames collided with Mammothmon’s attack, burning it into a thick steam. AeroVeedramon stepped forward, shaking the three Rookie Digimon off of his back. “Damn it all…I’m sick of nobody believing me. People think I’m weak ‘cause I sleep all damn day. You guys all think we’re bandits ‘cause you’ve never seen us before in your miserable lives. Well, I’m not going to just sit here and get lectured by some grammatically-challenged troglodyte! V-Wing Blade!”

“Tusk Crusher!” Once more, the attacks of AeroVeedramon and Mammothmon collided and created a massive explosion in the air, sending ice and flames flying in every direction.

“Magnum Crusher!” AeroVeedramon flew through the steam and slammed his claws onto Mammothmon’s face, sending the Ancient Beast toppling over to the ground. “That…is real strength. Fighting for what you believe in; not against some nameless evil you aren’t even certain that exists!”

“What’s is this?! You’s defeated Mammothmons?!” Vandrik exclaimed. “…Fine, then! You’s and me’s are going at it then, nows!”

“…No…I…I order you to…stand down, Vandrik…” It was a small voice that spoke over the roar of the blizzard, but I could hear it clearly; a young woman, an owner of a shy and dainty voice. A Garurumon trudged through the snow next to Mammothmon, carrying a Human, the one who spoke to Vandrik, on his back.

“Ah, you’s be coming at a good times, wee ones!” Vandrik said. “You’s ready to die, banditses?!” The Garurumon lowered himself to the icy ground, and the woman on his back slid off gently.

“…You…are the ones that Vandrik and Mammothmon were…f-fighting with?” she asked.

“Who are you? Are you a knight, too?” I asked.

“……I am…Ilora…a mage……I was….trained by the best…..”

“You’s in troubles now, banditses!” Vandrik said. “The wee ones here be the best mages you’s ever sees!”

“Y-Yes…I…” Ilora brought her hands to her chest, and lowered her face to conceal her blushing cheeks. “I-I…I won’t…let you leave this place…not alive…if you plan on terrorizing our land any further…”

“Listen to me! We aren’t bandits! We’re—!”

“Ah, don’t listen to thems, wee ones,” Vandrik said. “They be’s bandits too, yeah? Let’s gut them’s like pigses!”

“N-No…I…don’t want to see any blood,” Ilora whispered. “Let’s…do this my way…okay?”

“Fine…Just makes it quicks, you’s got it?”

“Hmph; don’t we get any say in this?” Abigail asked. And that was the last thing before her entire body froze completely over. I instinctively reached for my sword, but when Ilora raised her arm in the air, the same fate befell me.

~~~

Slowly , my eyes opened, and I looked around. Directly in front of me was a row of thick iron bars; a prison cell. I sighed, and looked at my friends. All of them were alive and breathing, but remained unconscious. I rose to my feet, and was shocked to see that I wasn’t wearing handcuffs, or any kind of chains, but more surprised that the ground beneath my feet was actually quite warm and cozy.

“No wonder everyone else is still asleep,” I whispered. Indeed, even the air was quite warm; not hot, not cold, but right in the middle, even though it seemed that the grey walls were covered in ice. “Curiouser and curiouser…”

“Whoa…someone else here?” another voice, this one belonging to a woman, asked, the suddenness of which nearly made me jump out of my skin. I looked to the far corner of the cell, and saw the form of another person.

“…Who’s there?” I asked. The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“Think that’s my line. But, now that I see you…Ooh, I’m liking what I do see. Been a while, El. Like what you did with the shirt — taking it off, and all. Niiiiice; curves like those should be shown for the whole world to admire.” The woman stepped out of the shadows; my mouth hung agape, and I glared at who approached me. “I was never that lucky; never had curves, breasts never grew much. You got it good, El; the perfect package of beauty and sexy.”

“LIRA!”
Lan Fan

Shendu Territory



Less than twenty minutes have passed since the departure of Lucia and the other members of Lachesis. In that time, I had hung on tightly to my father’s arm after dozing off. My father reached over and gently stroked my hair every now and then. He was always like that; stern and almost coldhearted at one moment, and calm and loving the next. A few might be confused by my constant attachment to such a man, even if that man was my father; but, it was because he was my father that I couldn’t help but forgive and continue to love him. After my mother died, we were all each other had…

“YOUR MAJESTY! EMPEROR TSO LAN!” One of my father’s knights, a young man named Tristan, rushed into the throne room with a severely troubled look on his face.

“What is the problem, Sergeant?” my father asked, instantly alerted.

“We’re being invaded! There’s an army of—!” Before Tristan could finish, a massive claw swung through the air and raked the knight’s head cleanly off. I gasped and grabbed on to my father’s arm as a large MetalGarurumon walked into the room.

“The Lunar Prince, Emperor Tso Lan; you are hereby decreed by the Eclipse Army to relinquish the Royal Gemstone of Shendu Territory,” the MetalGarurumon growled.

“Well, get in line; you aren’t the first to ask for that, even today!” Tso Lan barked. “Now, leave before my own army dispatches yours!”

“I wouldn’t worry about them if I were you; you have only yourself and your precious daughter to worry about!” another MetalGarurumon walked into the room behind the first, and was followed by several others. “We even made sure not to kill a single one of them. Dead hostages have no value, neither to the enemy, or their king!”

“If you’ve taken no further lives, then I advise you all to leave now; you are guilty only for intruding upon the emperor’s throne room and the death of a single knight. If you go now, then we won’t pursue you!”

“You are in no position to be making threats, Emperor; see that red dot on your little girl’s chest?” My heart immediately quickened as I looked down and saw a red laser pointed directly at my heart. “If you don’t want the princess blown to pieces, then don’t provoke our sniper. We MetalGarurumon are better snipers than you Humans give us credit for!” Tso Lan placed a firm hand over my shoulder, “The choice is yours. The gem…or your lives. Choose wisely, Emperor.”

“…F-Father…” My stomach was in knots, and my mouth went dry; I knew my father would never give away the gem under any circumstance, even at the cost of his daughter.

“N-No…I…”

“You have ten seconds to decide. Otherwise, we will kill you all and take the gem by force!”

“O-Okay! Fine, it’s yours…Just spare my daughter, please…” A single tear fell down the side of my father’s face as he reached into a secret compartment in the side of the throne, and retrieved the grey-colored jewel.

Is that tear for me, or the jewel? I couldn’t help but wonder as he held out the jewel. The MetalGarurumon stepped forward, and briefly gave the gem a sniff.

“…You…dare to deceive us by handing us a fake!? That pitiful stone doesn’t hold the essence of our master!” the MetalGarurumon roared.

“I—I don’t understand! That stone…How is that not the real one?!” Tso Lan asked. “S-Surely you jest…This is the real gemstone!”

“You lost your daughter over a pathetic gamble! Now pay the price! Ice Wolf Claw!”

“NO!!! GET DOWN!” My father shoved me down to the floor just in time to protect me from the attack. I looked back at him just as it happened. Blades of ice launched by the MetalGarurumon pierced his body over and over again; eight went through his chest, and one clear through his forehead. His splattered blood hit my face the moment his lifeless body hit the floor.

“FATHER!!!!”

“You…Do you know where the real gemstone is?” MetalGarurumon asked. I remained silent, saved for the choked sobs and wailing over my father. “Fine; remain silent. Then you will join your father in death! Metal Wolf Claw!” There was a flash of pale blue, and then a flash of deep violet. The blast of ice from MetalGarurumon’s snout diverted just inches from me and my father’s body. Standing before me was a massive suit of armor. “Y-You! Colonel Generalmon!” The Digimon before me said nothing. “You’ve been revived!”

“…W-Who…are you?” I asked in between sobs.

“Hah! You’re in trouble now, princess! Generalmon is the sub-commander of the Eclipse Army, and was also a member of the Order of the Enchantress! He answers directly to our master!” MetalGarurumon exclaimed happily. “Now, hand over the—!”

“Dæmon Lux Lunae!” Generalmon held out his hand and fired a beam of radiant violet light, instantly obliterating the MetalGarurumon, along with two others behind him. The remaining Digimon stepped back in fear and alarm.

“W-What is the meaning of this, Colonel?” one of the MetalGarurumon asked.

“…So long I was bathed in darkness…So long, that I even began to forget her face…Celina,” Generalmon whispered. “Pure of heart, and noble of intentions…My descent into darkness began when I lost her, and she lost her life to the Games. It was where this city stands now…and by the decree of a handful of corrupt nobles, she was forced into that twisted arena. I swore an oath; an oath of darkness in order to attain the power to avenge her. Seven-hundred years ago, I thought I had done just that; I destroyed this entire city, and killed thousands, in but a single day. But still, I…I felt so empty.” Generalmon clenched his fist, and placed it over his chest, over his heart. “I didn’t know why…but now I do. Celina Rosalina…Deep in my subconscious, I knew she would never approved of the evil that had then filled my heart. I didn’t realize it until long after I was killed by Seraphimon…and I was reborn, back as Generalmon. And that was when I knew what I had to do.” Generalmon pointed at the number of MetalGarurumon standing before him. “I will destroy the Luna Diviner I once served! I shall protect the memory of the woman I loved!”

“TRAITOR! Metal Wolf Claw!”

“Dæmon Icircumflex!” Generalmon brandished his massive axe, deflecting the beams of ice fired by the MetalGarurumon. One by one, he swung and attacked the Android Digimon, killing them all with a single stroke of his axe until none were left.

“…G-Generalmon,” I whispered. “I…I—”

“You don’t need to say anything, my princess,” Generalmon said. The massive Digimon walked up to me and knelt down, placing a hand on top of my head. He was large, and looked intimidating, but he spoke so softly and gently. “I…apologize…not just for what I have done in the past, but…I couldn’t make it in time…to save your father…”

“…Oh, Generalmon!” I lost myself in another bout of tears and wailing, clinging onto the Digimon before me.

“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry,” Generalmon whispered. “But this, I do swear; I will protect you from now on. You…and your kingdom, and all you hold dear in your heart.”
Duke Tchang Zu



“Heh …I can’t believe it was as easy as that,” I whispered, clutching the true Gemstone of Shendu Territory in my hand. My remaining stump of a right arm tingled with phantom excitement as I gazed upon the jewel.

“My Lord; do you not think that your brother will notice a difference between the real and fake jewels?” my aid and general, Dai Gui, asked.

“Nah; he may be obsessed, but he never did pay attention to the little details,” I replied. I looked up; my own castle, small, dark, and dreary, was now before us. “Let’s put this little beauty in MY throne room, where it belongs!”

“Not so fast.” My heart skipped a beat at the suddenness of the new voice. Dai Gui and I both turned around, and were faced with a large pack of MetalGarurumon.

“…C-Can I…help you?” I asked quietly.

“Hand over that gemstone,” one of the MetalGarurumon asked. “If you do not, then you shall suffer the consequences!”

“No way; I finally managed to steal — er, retrieve — this from my brother, and I’m not going to give it to a pack of crazed Digimon!” I yelled.

“Suit yourself. Ice Wolf Claw!”

“My lord; get down!” Dai Gui jumped in front of me, but by that time, I had already turned around to flee. I heard my general scream in pure agony, and when I looked over my shoulder, he was already dead on the ground.

“N-No! I can’t die! I’m supposed to be Emperor! Emperor of all Shendu Territory!” I screamed. A single MetalGarurumon leapt over me, and landed in front of me.

“Then this land has lost two Emperors on this day. Metal Wolf Claw!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 206 - Ice Labyrinth

Eleanora Kasuto



“LIRA!”

“Well, it certainly is an honor to hear that you haven’t forgotten my name, love!” Lira Elric practically squealed; to my amazement, not one of my friends stirred from the noise, although I expected as much at least from the lazy AeroVeedramon.

“…No. I haven’t forgotten a single thing about you, Lira Elric!” I growled. “I’ve been waiting for the next time we meet!”

“Aw, how sweet! D’you miss me?” Lira asked, inching closer and closer to me.

“I guess you could say that…HYAHHH!” Unable to restrain myself any further, I gathered all of my strength and punched Lira in the eye.

“OW! Damn it, you crazy broad, the hell was that for?!” Lira exclaimed.

“THAT…was for my brother!” I shouted. “Now, GIVE HIM BACK HIS GEMSTONE!”

“Wha—?! Oh…right, that…was a keepsake of his mum’s, wasn’t it…?” Lira’s face immediately changed from confused rage to a deeply contrite and ashamed expression. “Look…I really am sorry that I did what I did…But, listen; it wasn’t just some random thieving snatch I did, all right? It was all part of my mission.”

“What mission?! Did you come seeking us out just to make my brother miserable!?” I screamed.

“N-No, nothing like that! I just…I’m looking for gemstones,” Lira whispered. “And before you ask, no, I am NOT working for IceDevimon; I’m with, um…other people. I can’t tell you who they are yet, but—”

“Can’t say? Oh, that’s REALLY convincing!” I interrupted.

“Look, my parents put me up to this. They’re the king and queen of Nymphaea Province, and—”

“WAIT, wait, wait, WHAT?! You MUST be kidding! T-That means…”

“Oh, yeah…I’m a princess,” Lira said rather shyly. “B-But, um…”

…Her entire demeanor’s changed again. She’s so…weird…

“So…my parents set me out on this mission given by a friend of theirs to find the gemstones, and keep them safe from IceDevimon,” Lira continued. “That’s why I stole your brother’s jewel. I had to keep it safe — not to mention, Matthew. If he still had it, IceDevimon’s troops would be after him as we speak, you know.”

“I…oh…But then, why are you here in Valneva?” I asked.

“Same reason you are, doll. Looking for the Tsarista’s gem.”

“What?! You mean, she really has one?”

“Of course! All the leaders of the five territories have one. You sure picked a lousy place to come to, though. Valneva is the owner of iron-clad defenses, you know.”

“Well, I didn’t really have a choice; our guild split up to find them all, so some of us had to come here, you know!” I shouted. “A-And don’t think I’ve let you off the hook for stealing Matthew’s gem just yet! You still have a lot of explaining to do!”

“Yeah, I get it; but there’s a lot that I can’t tell you just now,” Lira sighed. “Look, I can get us all out of here; there’s a trapdoor in this room that leads deep underground — and directly to the Tsarista’s gemstone.”

“R-Really? That sounds a little too convenient,” I said. “How do you know all of this?”

“Well, how do you think? I’ve been here before,” Lira shrugged. “About six years ago, I came here to steal the gem, just like now, but I was caught and thrown into here. If I didn’t find that trapdoor all those years ago, I’d still be stuck in here, or probably executed.”

Oh, the horror, I wanted to say sarcastically, but I kept my mouth shut this time.

“Now, we just need to wait for your friends to wake up, and then we can get moving,” Lira continued. “…I’m honestly surprised all of your screaming earlier didn’t wake any of them up.”

“Hey, you were screaming too!” I snapped.

“Only after you punched me!”

“Whatever; just help me wake them up, okay?” I walked over to Lunamon and picked up the small Digimon. Gradually, Lira and I managed to wake the others, though AeroVeedramon took almost ten minutes to get so much as a response from.

“…Okay…the trapdoor you mentioned should be right around…here,” AeroVeedramon grumbled, sniffing the cold, hard ground beneath us. “…Yeah, the air’s different around here. Magnum Crusher!” Using all his might, AeroVeedramon crushed the floor with a single swipe of his claw.

“Wow…you were right,” I whispered.

“Why would I lie? I don’t want to be here, either,” Lira replied. “Okay, everyone, listen up; underneath us awaits a labyrinth made entirely of magical ice that cannot be melted or shattered. It was built by the first Tsars of Valneva to ward away thieves like me, and every few months or so, the layout changes, so I won’t be able to guide you as well as I’d like.”

“…Ellie, are you sure we can trust her?” Abigail asked as Lira began leading us through the trapdoor and down a long flight of stairs.

“I’m not. But, I don’t think we have much choice,” I said. “If we had broken our way out of the prison cell by force, all the knights of Valneva would’ve been on us in seconds. Besides, we can’t just stay there and wait for someone to come get us. IceDevimon is after these gems, and if we don’t hurry, then he’ll get this one, too.”

“I know, I know…” I knew immediately that nobody in our group really trusted Lira, except for maybe Neemon, who was always oblivious to his surroundings anyway. We walked in silence for the remainder of our walk downstairs until we reached a large field made entirely of ice.

“…This isn’t right,” I heard Lira whisper.

“What’s wrong now?” I asked.

“It isn’t supposed to be a field; there was an entire maze when I was here last,” Lira said.

“Well, perhaps that is a good thing; the less obstacles that stand in our way, the better,” Bokomon said.

“Yeah, I suppose…Well, do you see that bright orchid light in the distance? That’s Valneva’s gemstone,” Lira said.

“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go get it!” Neemon exclaimed, hopping onto AeroVeedramon’s back.

“Wait a minute!” Lira hissed. “…Like I said, there’s supposed to be a maze here, and clearly, there isn’t. Something is definitely wrong…”

“Let’s worry about that later, dear; we need to retrieve the gem before IceDevimon does,” Abigail said.

“Very well…” Once more, our group began to walk in silence, with nobody wanting to broadcast any fear or uncertainty they may have had. Ten minutes passed, and we were almost there. The light of the gem was so bright, and with it reflecting off of the ice in every direction, I had to cover my eyes. “…This is it. Up these stairs and atop that podium…is the Royal Gem of Valneva.”

“…Well? Aren’t you going to get it?” I asked. “That is your mission, isn’t it?” Lira bit her lip, and hesitantly glanced at the orchid-colored gem. “This isn’t a trap, is it?”

“That’s why I’m hesitating! It’s so obviously a trap, and I don’t want to get caught in it!” Lira exclaimed.

“How do we know it isn’t one of YOUR traps?!”

“I don’t—! Ugh, fine…” Slowly, Lira lifted her leg, and gently placed her foot on the first step. Nothing happened. With a little more confidence, Lira slowly ascended the stairs of ice and up to the podium. The gemstone was now within reach.

“That thing is a fake.” Lira’s hand flinched just as she was about to touch the gem. I turned around and saw a lone woman approaching us from behind; a fierce look on her face and in her emerald eyes made me flinch like Lira, and I hid myself behind Abigail. “But then…you already knew that, didn’t you, Lira?”

“Who are you?” AeroVeedramon asked.

“SILENCE! I’ll be asking the questions around here!” the woman snapped. “…But since you asked, you may call me Anastasia — Tsarista Anastasia Valneva.” I froze.

The…Tsarista?! That means she’s the ruler of Valneva? I…guess that’s appropriate…

“Now, Lira…why don’t you tell me why you decided to come down here?” Anastasia asked.

“I…wanted to take this gemstone,” Lira said quietly.

“Yes, just like six years ago…Only, you were successful back then. Somehow, you managed to clear the Ice Labyrinth and find your way to the Royal Gemstone, and escape with your life. Why did you come back for something you knew was a fake?!”

“What?! Lira…is this true?!” I asked.

“…Yes. It is. I’m sorry, Eleanora; probably should’ve mentioned this earlier,” Lira said. “After I escaped Valneva, I…I lost it. I lost the gem. I don’t know what happened to it, if I dropped it or what; I thought that maybe it would be back here…”

“Huh; you actually lost it? Some great thief you are,” Anastasia huffed. Lira shook her head.

“I was only fifteen back then; just a stupid kid who thought she could do everything,” Lira sighed. “You knew I was here; is that why you disabled the labyrinth?”

“Precisely; I wanted to catch you myself this time to make up for last time’s embarrassment!” Anastasia said. “And getting these bandits to help you out won’t account for anything.”

“We aren’t bandits! We’re mercenaries from Lachesis!” I shouted.

“Hmph; that’s what Ilora told me. Now that I can see you for myself, I can clearly see…”

“…Yes…?”

“That you’re a lowly gang of criminals! And we don’t tolerate your ilk here very well in Valneva! I’ll see to it that each and everyone here dies a painful death!”

“…Does that include you, too?” Neemon asked. Bokomon immediately smacked him over the head with his book.

“S-S-Shut up!” Anastasia screamed. “Just for that, you’ll be the first to die — a slow death in the cold! And your friend with the book, I’ll have him trampled to death by Mammothmon!” Bokomon groaned. Anastasia then pointed at Lunamon, and then AeroVeedramon. “I’ll have this little one cut into pieces, and fed to your dragon! And then, he shall be removed of his head!” AeroVeedramon yawned, sounding not the least bit threatened by the Tsarista as she pointed at Abigail. “You…You’re very beautiful. I’ll get a nice kick out of watching Vandrik crush your skull with his bare hands! And that leaves you…” Anastasia walked up to me, and drew a knife from her sleeve, placing its cold steel blade against my belly. “I’ll gut you myself — like the cutthroat pig that you are.”

“I–Is this all really necessary?” I asked in a high voice.

“SILENCE!”

“Hold on a minute,” Lira said. Walking down the ice stairs, the thief approached Anastasia and looked her directly in the eyes. “…According to the law of your kingdom, any prisoner condemned to death is allowed to request a trial by combat. If the prisoner is somehow able to emerge victorious, they are free to go. If not, then their opponent may claim their life.” Once again, my heart sank.

“L-Lira…? I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” I whispered.

“Well, if you like the way that knife feels against your stomach, then by all means, ignore me,” Lira whispered back.

“That could most definitely work in our favor,” Abigail mused. “Combat is my forte, after all…”

Well, I guess that’s true…and AeroVeedramon is also strong if he gets focused…but I still have a bad feeling about this…

“Very well then. I will accept your…mad offer,” Anastasia said, pulling her knife away from me, allowing me to breathe easy. “But as the Tsarista, I get to declare who fights who.”

“…Right,” Lira said. “…As you desire.” Once again, Anastasia looked over at me.

“You. You will fight against my strongest knight, Gallantmon.” I nearly passed out on the spot.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 207 - Trial by Combat

Eleanora Kasuto



Anastasia looked over at me. “You. You will fight against my strongest knight; Gallantmon.” I nearly passed out on the spot. “And you will fight him alone.

“Excuse me; I’m her Digimon partner,” Lunamon began. “And…um—”

“She is to do this alone!” Anastasia snapped. “The trial will begin in thirty minutes. Use that time to prepare yourself…for your demise. Lira, show them the way out.” Anastasia turned her back to us, and left the way we came in.

“…She’s fighting Gallantmon,” Abigail whispered. “No, it can’t be…”

“We’re all screwed, aren’t we,” Lira sighed. “Anyway, the exit’s this way…” Lira lead everyone to a near corner of the underground cave. AeroVeedramon reared up and slashed his way through another trapdoor, allowing us back up to the surface, directly in the middle of what looked like Valneva Castle.

“Well, Neemon…it’s been nice knowing you,” Bokomon said sadly.

“It wasn’t that nice for me; you keep hitting me every time I say something profound!” Neemon protested.

“Yes; profoundly stupid…”

“Hey! You guys are talking like Eleanora’s going to lose! How do you know she won’t win?!” Lunamon snapped. “I think she can do it!”

“Lunamon, we all know Ellie will do her very best, but…she’s fighting Gallantmon,” Abigail said. “A Mega-level Digimon, and a powerful Exalted Knight.”

“…Good point.”

“Everyone…I apologize in advance,” I whispered.

“H-Hey! Don’t talk like that! If you don’t think you’re going to win, then you won’t!” Lira exclaimed.

“Well, it’s not like any of you guys think I can do it!” I complained.

“Look, all the positive thinking in the world won’t be able to protect Eleanora now; Gallantmon is one of the strongest Digimon there is,” Abigail said. “I should know; I’ve seen him in action once or twice myself. He was Zelda’s most powerful Spirit back in the day.”

“Wait, is he the same one?” I asked.

“It’s possible; Zelda’s original Spirits were destroyed by Lilithmon, and then revived, like Dynasmon,” Abigail said.

“Then we really are doomed,” Lira whispered.

“Wait…nobody’s watching…why don’t we just run for it?” AeroVeedramon yawned.

“We wouldn’t get far. I told you that Valneva has the most iron-clad defense of all the Provinces and Territories on Arcadia. Nobody gets in, and nobody gets out,” Lira said.

“No. You guys will get out. I promise you that,” I said firmly. “Even if I have to trade my own life to do it, then you will all get out of here.”

“Ellie, no! Please, don’t talk like that,” Abigail said. “Let me do it. I’ve lived a longer life, so if anyone should sacrifice themselves, it’s me.”

“Really? You’d leave Edmund all alone, without his mother, again?” I asked. Abigail winced.

“That…would be hard…I’d hate to do that to my baby,” Abigail whispered. “But, Ellie, Zelda is such a close friend that you’re one of my babies too! Don’t make me watch you die!”

“I…I’m sorry, Aunt Abigail…but Anastasia wanted me, and me alone, to do this. While I’m fighting Gallantmon, I want you all to get out of here,” I said. “And…give Matthew my regards. Tell him that I will always love him, and that I will continue to watch over him, even in death…”

“…You really are bent on protecting everyone, aren’t you?” Abigail asked.

“I can’t help it. That is my title, after all,” I said softly. “I was dubbed ‘The Guardian’ the moment I joined Lachesis. Remember, Miss Demon?”

“…Yes…” I smiled at Abigail, and pulled her into a tight embrace.

“I’ll miss you…Aunt Abby,” I whispered. “And all of you guys, too…AeroVeedramon the Dragon, Bokomon the Scholar, Neemon the Fool, Lunamon the New Moon…and…Lira the Thief.” Lira gasped at my words; I could see tears beginning to form in her eyes. “Yes…I may not have forgiven you yet, but…if you truly wish to help us, then join our guild. Prove your desire to help us.”

“…I…I will,” Lira sniffled.

“Now then…I’ve got a trial to lose,” I said quietly. Taking one final look at all of my friends, the sad looks on their faces, I turned away. Without looking back, I walked silently through the halls of Valneva Castle until I was found by one of the knights and taken to the arena. The knight, a large and brusque man, shoved me into the large room, a gladiatorial colosseum. Rows and rows of people and Digimon sat all around, watching as I was forcefully pushed into the arena. Directly across from me was a Digimon that I immediately knew must have been Gallantmon; resting patiently on his knees in a meditative stance, the Digimon raised his head as I approached.

“…Is it fighting time?” Gallantmon asked. My entire body shook from fear, and the roar of the audience. “Hmph; the queen told me you were a bandit, but you’re such a tiny thing…”

“Looks can be deceiving,” I whispered. Wiping away the remainder of my tears, I drew my sword and glared down Gallantmon as he rose to his feet.

“Go on then, little one. Do your best!” Gallantmon growled.

“I fully intend to!” I gathered every ounce of strength that I could muster and then swung my blade. My mind quickly raced back to the day I first laid eyes upon the sword; it was an inherited gift from my ancestor, Thomas Kasuto, a beautiful blade named Aquroya. I never once parted ways with this beautiful sword, this metallic work of art. I said nothing as I swung it through the air, but I knew that, when I was gone, that I would miss this gorgeous masterpiece as much as I would my friends. Aquroya struck the center of Gallantmon’s shield, and split cleanly in two. Once more, my eyes began to fill with tears at the sight of one of my closest friends shattered and fell to the cold ground.

“Good try…but not good enough!” Gallantmon thrusted his shield into my face; I heard a loud crack as my nose most certainly broke, and I glanced down just in time to see blood come flying out. With the cracked remainder of my treasured sword, I made a jab at Gallantmon’s visor, but the knight only raised his shield once more. I nearly yelled in pain as I felt a bone in my wrist break from the force of my impact. “Hmm…you certainly are strong, tiny one.”

“…Listen…I’ve got a…a proposition for you,” I whispered. “You can do whatever you want with me…but promise that you’ll spare my friends…”

“I’m afraid I’ve been given no such orders to do so, my dear,” Gallantmon said sadly.

“SWEAR IT! Swear it on your honor as a knight!” I screamed. “I will not…let my friends…die.”

“…Very well then. I do solemnly swear this oath…that I shall spare your friends when I defeat you,” Gallantmon said.

“Th…Thank you…Now…I can rest easily,” I whispered, dropping the broken Aquroya to the ground. “I’m ready. Do what you must.”

“…It has been a pleasure, my dear.” Gallantmon pointed his lance directly at my chest. “…Royal Sabre.”

“ELEANORA! DON’T GIVE UP!” It was Lira’s voice. I ducked at the last second and avoided a powerful blast of lightning from Gallantmon’s lance.

“Lira?!”

“Look up!” I did as the voice asked, and saw my friends looking down at me from the audience.

“Damn it; why didn’t you guys run when you had the chance?!” I yelled.

“Like we were just going to leave you behind!” Abigail yelled back. “Really, now, young lady; have more faith in us than that!”

“Look, guys, I already got Gallantmon to spare your lives in exchange for mine! It’s okay! You’re all—”

“NO, IT’S NOT OKAY!” Lunamon screamed. “D-Do you really think that it’s okay to just go and throw away your life like this?! DO YOU?!”

“Lunamon…”

“Listen to me…Don’t you dare…ever…EVER…do something like this again! You can win! You WILL WIN!” Lunamon said, shouting through her tears. “Please…promise me that you won’t…throw your life away…”

“…I’m sorry…Lunamon…But I stand by my word. I will do anything to protect you, and all of my friends at Lachesis. No matter the cost,” I said. Once more, I felt my eyes fill with tears, but I ignored them. “Even if that means…that I may die. I won’t let anybody hurt you, Lunamon.”

“Eleanora!” With great self-control, I managed to force myself to turn away from my friends, and back to Gallantmon.

“…Have you said your peace?” Gallantmon asked.

“I have. But I won’t just stand around; if you want to kill me, you’ll have to put up one hell of a fight!”

“Then expect me to give it my all! Royal Saber!” Gallantmon pointed his lance at the ground just in front of me, striking it with an immense blast of lightning that sent dust flying through the air.

“Damn it, cheap bastard; can’t see a thing,” I muttered. All of a sudden, Gallantmon rushed through the dust and slashed at me with his lance, jabbing at my hip and then tearing diagonally up my belly and all the way to my left shoulder. Blood came spurting out of the massive wound and out of my mouth as I fell to the ground, struggling to breathe.

“…I see you have been cursed with the Mark. You poor, unfortunate soul; destined to a life of hatred because of something you cannot help,” Gallantmon whispered. “Allow me to put you out of your misery.”

“N-No…”

“I’m sorry; but, this is all a part of our agreement, is it not…?”

“Y-You can’t…defeat me,” I gasped, coughing up another spurt of blood. Enduring the pain, I forced myself up, and looked Gallantmon in the eyes. “You lack…the resolve necessary…to kill. Because, you know…I’m not a bandit. And neither are my friends…” Gallantmon lowered his lance, looking taken aback by my words. “You’re just…following the orders of that Tsarista…blindly…that’s…actually kind of pathetic.”

“You know NOTHING!”

“Don’t I…? That look in your eyes…says everything…You’re afraid to have power of your own. You don’t want to kill…you want to protect. Well, start doing your damn job…and protect all of Arcadia!”

“SILENCE!” It was an instantaneous flash of rage. Gallantmon thrust his spear through my right shoulder and shoved me against the wall. The crowd watching us roared with excitement and anticipation, though I knew it was a different story for my friends. “You…You…don’t know my past! You know NOTHING! Don’t talk to me as though you know what I’ve been through!”

“Oh, but…I do…because you…once served…her,” I whispered. “I know exactly who you are…Gallantmon. And that’s why I won’t let you kill me!” I reached up and grabbed onto Gallantmon’s lance, and forcefully pulled it out of my shoulder. Gallantmon stumbled backwards, mostly from surprise, as I reached into my pocket and pulled out my Digivice.

I’m sorry…I swore to you that I wouldn’t use this until it came time for me to kill IceDevimon. But sometimes…you have to break a promise in order to keep one. “Bio Hybrid D.N.A…Charge!!!”

“Y-You…?! You’re a—?!”

“Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioYukinamon!” My entire body had changed completely. I was taller now, and I felt cold no longer. I looked down at my right hand; sure enough, it had turned into the malformed claw of Yukinamon. I reached up and felt my hair; the silky black that I had loved so much had changed to a deep sapphire blue, and my skin, a pale green-blue. I had successfully become Yukinamon. It was as she said; she and I were now one.

“Well, I must say I didn’t see this coming,” Gallantmon said.

“…By this right hand of frozen destruction…I do hereby swear to protect my friends from the evil IceDevimon has spread across the land,” I whispered. “And by my blue curse of ice, I do hereby swear…to defeat you! Phantom Frost!” From my left hand, I expelled a stream of translucent blue flames at Gallantmon. At once, his body began to freeze over.

“Nice try…But you don’t live in Valneva without learning how to deal with the cold!” Gallantmon swung his lance through the air, and the ice around his body shattered. “You’ll have to do better than that if you truly wish to protect your friends! Royal Saber!”

“Icy Aegis!” A barrier of ice formed around me just in time to shield me from Gallantmon’s attack initially, but with a single thrust of his lance, Gallantmon’s lightning managed to shatter my ice barrier and hit me, knocking me back down to the ground. “Ph-Phantom Frost!” I held up my left arm once again, trying to freeze Gallantmon’s feet to the ground, but he simply raised his leg an inch and shattered the ice once more.

“It’s time to end this; Final Elysion!”

G-Got to…stop him! I raised my right claw and held it up against Gallantmon’s shield, forming a shield of my own made of ice just at Gallantmon’s attack launched. This time, my ice managed to repel his attack, thrusting the Exalted Knight backwards through the air as it did. Gallantmon hit the ground with a mighty crash, with the shield on his arm smoldering and blackened. Gallantmon was unconscious. I had won.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 208 - Valencia Falls

Charlotte Corday

Castle Yew



I looked out of the balcony my room had out across the green fields of Yew. It was another beautiful day; the mid-afternoon sun shone brilliantly upon a vast lake as a gentle breeze stirred the surface. Out in the distance, I saw a much smaller castle than the one I was in now; one that I had called home, once upon a time. I sighed, remembering the days I spent idly by myself in my own private chambers…all alone…

“…Charlotte? Anybody home?” It was Siebold’s voice.

Well, I suppose all good days must come to an end at some point…heh.

“Hey! I’m talking to you, fatso!” Siebold exclaimed. Slowly, I turned around to face my fellow knight.

“Hello, Siebold. How fare you on this day?” I asked patiently.

“Jeez, I’ve been calling you for about five minutes now! What, did you get so fat that you can’t hear anymore?” Siebold asked.

“What do you want, Sir Siebold? Here to insult me as usual?” I grinned.

“What? No, I…I was just wondering what you were doing,” the man said quietly. “Everything’s been rather quiet lately, so I guess I just got bored…”

“…I’ve just been looking out the window here; the view of the lake is gorgeous from this angle,” I said.

“I see…It didn’t look like that was what you were looking at, though,” Siebold said, standing next to me on the balcony. “Is there something you’d like to talk about?”

“You mean with you? The man who makes fun of me and my weight on a daily basis?” I asked teasingly.

“I—! I…” Siebold fell silent, and looked straight down to the floor. “Yeah, you’re right; guess you wouldn’t want to speak to me.”

“…Do you see that castle in the distance?” I asked. “That’s where Count Earnest lives.”

“Yes, I’ve met him once or twice; he’s kinda dull, but I guess he’s a nice enough lord,” Siebold said.

“That’s my father. I used to live there.” Siebold gasped.

“Wh-What?! You…You’re the daughter of a count?!”

“Yes. It was very boring, so I decided to become a knight. I wanted a little excitement in my life,” I replied. “And I must say…I’ve never once regretted my decision. I feel like I truly belong here.”

“Wait, you were BORED with being in the upper crust?! Bored of money, servants waiting on you hand and foot, anything you could ever want?!” Siebold exclaimed.

“Bored of not having any friends,” I sighed. “When you’re born a rich girl, the daughter of a count, there’s actually not too many people who want to be your friend; jealousy, I suppose. Without friends, I…You know, this probably won’t surprise you, but the only thing I had for entertainment was…eating.”

“Oh…that explains a lot,” he snorted.

“I just kept eating until I was full, and then kept eating. I didn’t start gaining weight until I was about fourteen. My father never paid much attention to me — he was kind, but always very busy, and my servants were also almost mechanically kind, no matter how big I got. But I…I liked it.” I smiled and looked down at my large belly. “Ever since I became a knight, everyone here has been so kind to me — besides you, of course. So far, I’ve only ever told Alena that I’m a count’s daughter, and she never once treated me differently. Even Princess Micaiah; ever since we were a bit younger, she always liked taking naps with me and my big, soft belly…I like getting bigger; I like being soft; and I like being fat. It may not be what most other women say or think, but this is just who I am, and I like it.”

“That’s fine; because I like you, too.”

“W-Wha—?! You do not! You’ve insulted me at least four times a day since we’ve met!” I exclaimed, almost laughing. “Or, is it because you just found out that I’m a countess? Because I ran away from home; I don’t have any of my father’s—!” That was when it happened. Siebold leaned over, and kissed me. “…Siebold…”

“I mean it, Charlotte. I…like you.”

“You…”

“I was just like you — except for being rich. I never had any friends growing up until I came here; I just…didn’t know how else to get your attention,” Siebold whispered. “I was too much of a coward to say that it was love at first sight…”

“Do you…really mean that?” I asked quietly. “This isn’t just a set-up for some joke, is it…?”

“I would never do that to you…”

“And you…you know that I don’t have my father’s money anymore, right?” I asked. Siebold nodded. “And I’m also — to use your words — a big fatass. Do you really—”

“Charlotte. You could be poor as dirt, and your gut could be bigger than this castle, and I’d still love you,” Siebold whispered. Once more, he leaned over and kissed me, this time on the cheek. “I love you, and I love everything about you. You’re gentle, and beautiful; and one hell of a fighter. What more could a man ask for?”

“Siebold…” I threw my arms around the mage knight as far as my round belly would allow for. “…Sorry I can’t go further…”

“I just told you I loved you for everything you are; why would I let the size of your belly come between us?” Siebold asked, winking down at me. As the two of us drew in for another kiss, a massive crash shook my room and the entire castle. “W-What the hell was that?! Charlotte, are you okay?!”

“I-I’m fine…” The two of us looked over the edge of the balcony, and saw a massive army of Digimon approaching; rows of Tekkamon, Grademon, and Cerberumon were fast approaching.

“What the hell do they want?!” Siebold hissed. A single Grademon gracefully and slowly descended from the sky and landed on the edge of my balcony’s railing.

“We’re here…for the Royal Gem of Valencia!” the Grademon said. “We of the Olympus Army hereby seize control of this castle in the name of the Earth Mother!”

“You don’t know who the fuck you’re messing with; we are knights of the Valencia Royal Army! In the name of our princess, we will not allow you to desecrate our castle any longer!” Siebold exclaimed.

“Fine; you have been warned. You shall be the first to die! Cross Blade!” the Grademon jumped and thrust his two blades into Siebold’s neck, forcing the two of us apart and my newfound love to the ground, dying.

“SIEBOLD! NO!!!!”

“Ch-Charlotte…Go…run! Protect…the princess…” Siebold gagged on a spurt of blood that spilled from his mouth, and then lay silent.

“SIEBOLD!!!!!!”
Alena Sly



“…Whew! I think I ate a little too much today,” I said to myself as I walked into my room. I closed my door, and began removing my armor. “Man, my armor’s never been this tight before…” I finally succeeded in removing my breastplate and plackart, sighing in relief as I could breathe easier. I looked down at my belly, observing how bloated and distended it was from my recent meal, and smiled. “Heh; I guess Charlotte’s been a little influential on me. If I keep it up, soon I’ll be bigger than her.” I gave my stomach a few satisfied pats, and fell backwards onto my soft bed. “…I wonder how long those guys from Lachesis are going to stay. I like having them here, but…they’re here to protect Princess Micaiah…and that means she’s going to be in some kind of danger soon…I’m worried…” I placed my shortsword at my side and stretched my arms before resting them underneath my head as I gazed up at the ceiling.

“I wonder when life got to be so complicated…Seems like there’s been nothing but fighting ever since I became acquainted with Lachesis. Not that I blame them for that; they just seem to attract danger and all kinds of evil…I wonder if we ordinary knights can really be of any use to them…Well, I’ll think about it more when I’m not quite so tired…” I closed my eyes and began to doze off when a massive crash shook my room and the entire castle. Immediately awakened and alert, I reached for my sword when another one blocked me from doing so. I looked up and saw a Grademon standing above me on my bed.

“We of the Olympus Army lay claim to this castle!” the tall Digimon said. My heart was pounding wildly like a caged beast as the Grademon looked down, directly into my eyes. “You knights of Valencia will fall along with your kingdom, all in the name of our leader! Grade Slash!”

“ALENA! MOVE!” At the last possible second, I was pushed out of the way of Grademon’s attack by a newly arrived Wikstrom. “Are you unharmed, my lady?!”

“I-I’m fine, but—”

“There are enemies all over the castle; the invasion’s begun,” Wikstrom said sternly. “Here, you’ll need this.” Wikstrom handed me my shortsword, and the two of us faced down the single Grademon.

“One or two of you; it makes no difference. We of the Olympus Army have trained to defeat hundreds of the strongest at once!” Grademon bellowed. “Take THIS!” The Digimon swung his blade down at us while Wikstrom and I held up both of our swords, blocking the attack perfectly.

“We will not allow you to inflict harm upon our princess OR our kingdom!” Wikstrom growled.

“I’m afraid you have no say in this matter!” Grademon snapped. With his other arm, Grademon readied another sword strike, but before he could move, a more familiar blade pierced his chest and killed him.

“Leopardmon!” I gasped.

“…I am pleased to see that at least the two of you still draw breath,” Leopardmon whispered.

“What…do you mean? Is everyone okay?” I asked. Slowly, and almost unnoticeably, Leopardmon shook his head.

“Pherania was killed moments ago by that Grademon I felled,” Leopardmon whispered.

“N-No…”

“And young Siebold was killed in an attempt to protect Charlotte. She, at the very least, managed to survive,” Leopardmon continued in a low, hoarse voice.

“Pherania…Siebold…They’re both…dead…?”

“Yes. I…I was too weak to save Pherania, and Charlotte feels the same for Siebold. But we must not allow emotions to overcome us in this most crucial of battles; come! Charlotte and the members of Lachesis fight on in the throne room!”
Edmund Luxord



“Damn it; where the hell is Omnimon?” Isole asked, gasping for breath. She and the others were all drenched in blood, both their own and that of the Digimon they had slain. To my immense relief, none from our group had yet died, but I knew better than to tempt fate. “This would be a hell of a lot easier if he were here helping us!”

“He took Micaiah and fled the castle, I’m afraid,” I replied. I snapped my fingers and set another Cerberusmon ablaze, instantly killing the Digimon.

“What?! That self-absorbed son of a—!”

“Hey, watch your back!” Sieglinde exclaimed, slicing an advancing Tekkamon in half before it could reach our tactician. “You okay?”

“…Thanks,” Isole muttered.

“I understand how you feel, but we must fight on. We must defeat the enemy so that nobody else gets hurt,” I said sternly. “And most importantly, we cannot allow them to find Micaiah and Omnimon.”

“Right, I know…” I smiled at our stubborn tactician and placed a hand over her shoulder. Off to the side, I saw a grief-stricken Charlotte slice a Cerberusmon cleanly in two with a single stroke of her lance.

The poor lass; she told me Siebold admitted his love to her before his untimely death. Such a cruel twist of fate to unleash upon such a kind young woman…

“Sword of Annihilation: Extinction Wave!” A powerful wave of energy swept across the throne room. Though it hit me and encompassed my friends, I felt no pain, and it seemed to be the same for my comrades. The enemy Digimon, however, were instantly destroyed by the attack as Leopardmon arrived with Alena and Wikstrom.

“A-Alena! You’re okay,” Charlotte whimpered.

“Charlotte!” The two knights ran up to each other and embraced, with Charlotte immediately bursting into tears.

“He…Siebold, he…”

“I know…Leopardmon told me,” Alena whispered.

“He loved me! Why did he have to die?!” Charlotte almost screamed.

“Charlotte…”

“Where is Omnimon?” Leopardmon asked.

“Left; he managed to escape with the princess,” I answered.

“…We need to leave here. Right now.”

“What? You mean, abandon our castle?!” Wikstrom exclaimed.

“I know how it must seem, Wikstrom, but if we do not leave, we may all be risking our lives over a battle we are most sure to lose!” Leopardmon said. “We must find the other members of Lachesis…and regroup with them, and Omnimon, too. Our castle may fall, but it is just a building. The principles we as knights stand for will never die out as long as we continue to live!”

“Then we’ll need to leave soon; I see more troops arriving from the east,” I said, glancing out a window.

“Let’s get going. For all of Arcadia, we must live to fight another day!” Leopardmon exclaimed.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 209 - Advance of Angels

Ilora



The vast, snowy fields of Valneva Territory never changed. The sun never once shone upon the ice, leaving untold scores of layers beneath my feet. It was very beautiful; entirely white and grey. I admired the simplistic beauty nature presented us every day in this land.

“…never changes,” I whispered.

“What’s that you’s be sayin’, wee ones?” Vandrik asked from atop his large Mammothmon.

“I hope this never changes,” I repeated. “The snow and ice…I love it here…It’s so cold to outsiders, but for you and me, it’… perfect. And it’s so beautiful here, too…”

“Yeah; Valnevas got it greats!” Vandrik laughed. “Yous and mes are like peas in pod!”

“Y-Yes…I…suppose so…” I looked up at the large man, and smiled. He was one of the very few who I did not feel completely shy around; the same went for our Tsarista, Anastasia. Those two meant the world to me. I looked down at my own partner Digimon, Garurumon; he was undoubtedly the closest thing I ever had to a family. I reached and scratched the Digimon behind his hears.

“So, what yous thinking is going to happens to the banditses?” Vandrik asked.

“O-Oh…well, I…I think our Tsarista will have them executed,” I whispered. Just the mere thought of blood and death turned my stomach, but since they were bandits, I knew it had to be done. “…That girl…Eleanora…She…seemed so sincere…”

“I know what you mean; her eyes were fierce, and protective,” Garurumon said. “She cares for her comrades; that much is obvious. I hate to see such wonderful traits being used for evil…”

“That’s why they must die; with such unprecedented camaraderie, they could easily become a force to be reckoned with; a force too great for us to stop,” Mammothmon added.

“I know…” I gazed sadly at the horizon when something caught my eye. “…Um…V-Vandrik? Wh-What is that…?”

“What is…? Oh…Oh, noes…This isn’t goods,” Vandrik whispered.

“What’s wrong?”

“…An invasions,” the large man said. I looked back to the horizon; it seemed like nothing more than a flock of birds at first, but as they drew closer and closer, I saw they had humanoid forms. “Angemonses!”

“Angemon…? Here, in Valneva? Why?” I asked.

“No goods this can be; a gatherings this large can only be for battleses!” Vandrik shouted.

“I read about it myself once when I was a young lad; Angemon are supposed to be virtuous, but when they gather like this…it can only mean death for their enemies,” Mammothmon whispered. “And I don’t think they’re here to visit us. I can see it in my mind’s eye; they’re ready to attack!”

“Garurumon! Takes the wee ones and goes!” Vandrik yelled.

“But what about you?!” I asked.

“Mammothmon and us will fight; you warn the Tsaristas!” Vandrik said. “Now, goes!”

“No! Vandrik!”

“Hang on tight, Ilora!” Garurumon barked, turning around sharply and running toward the castle.

“VANDRIK! MAMMOTHMON!”

“Heh; we always knew we’d dies fighting upon your backs,” I heard Vandrik say to his Digimon partner.

“It was a good life, and I am honored to have served as your partner,” Mammothmon replied. With the army of Angemon overhead, Mammothmon charged directly into their lines, and that was the last I saw of them before they were lost in the blizzard.
Eleanora Kasuto



Gallantmon fell to his back, unconscious. I had won. Gasping for breath, I shifted back into my Human form and collapsed on the ground.

“Ellie! Eleanora!” All of my friends were immediately at my side, looking gravely concerned — even AeroVeedramon. Lunamon was holding onto my arm and sobbing. “You…You’re okay…”

“Y-Yes…I’ll be…okay…little one,” I whispered gently, pulling the tiny Digimon closer to me. Bokomon began flipping through his big green book and chanted a healing spell that I had heard all too often throughout my life.

“Ellie…why didn’t you tell us you were a Bio Hybrid?” Abigail asked.

“I’m sorry…I promised I wouldn’t tell anyone,” I whispered back. Thanks to Bokomon’s healing spell, I found the strength to sit up partially. “When I was inside of Sakkakumon, I battled a Digimon called Yukinamon…and she gave me the power to become her. I promised her I would use her power to destroy IceDevimon…but I needed to keep it a secret so that he wouldn’t be able to prepare for it. So, please…”

“Don’t worry; we won’t tell anyone!” Neemon said happily. I felt immensely relieved to know that even Neemon understood my situation. I leaned over and kissed the dumb but loveable Digimon on the forehead.

“…I’m sorry that I worried all of you,” I said.

“Hey…um, so, since you won the fight…can I still join your guild…?” Lira asked nervously.

I smiled. “Of course. I hereby welcome you into our guild, Lachesis.”

“You know, that’s supposed to be Flamedramon’s job,” Abigail said. “But…as his wife, I’ll allow it.”

“You don’t need to say wife so gloatingly,” I chuckled.

“Oh, Ellie, you’ll get married someday very soon; you’re too beautiful to be single!” Abigail cooed. I smiled at Abigail, and hugged her. She was always so wonderful to talk to; so gentle and motherly, kind and caring, but as she wasn’t related to me like Zelda, there were always the little things I felt more comfortable talking to her with. And to think, I almost willingly gave up those memories, and the future I could have spent with her…

“…Well, now…I do hate to admit this, but you won.” Standing right in front of me was none other than Tsarista Anastasia herself. “I guess that means you’re free to go. But don’t you let me see your faces ever again!”

“Before we go…I would like to say one more time that we are not bandits,” I said, standing up to face the Tsarista. “We are mercenaries from the guild Lachesis. We came here to protect the Royal Gem of Valneva, but since it isn’t here…We will do as you wish, and leave.”

“See to it that you do.” Anastasia turned to walk away, but suddenly came to a halt as Ilora and Garurumon suddenly ran up to her.

That girl…she’s the one who froze us solid with that spell. She looks so delicate, but she must be really powerful to cast such a spell…

“Ilora, what is wrong? You and Garurumon seem to be out of breath,” Anastasia said, speaking in a much gentler voice than I had ever heard from her.

“M-My lady…We…We’re being attacked,” Ilora said in between sobs. “Vandrik, he…He and Mammothmon both sacrificed themselves so that I could…sniff…”

“Ilora, dear, who’s attacking us?” Anastasia whispered, gently brushing the tears away from the young woman’s lovely golden eyes.

“WE are!” A surge of light energy blasted through the ceiling of the indoor colosseum, leaving a gaping hole in its wake that allowed scores of Angemon and Angewomon to fly through. A single Angemon landed on the ground before us, while the rest of the Digimon flew about in the air.

“We of the Radiant Army hereby demand that you, Tsarista Anastasia Valneva, relinquish the Royal Gemstone of—”

“Here. Take it.” Anastasia reached into her dress pocket and pulled out the orchid-colored stone. “It’s a fake, but you can have it if you want. I don’t need it.”

“What?! You dare insult the majesty of our army by handing over a fake?!” the Angemon hollered.

“Fine, don’t take it; I don’t know where the real one is,” Anastasia shrugged. “Hell, for all I know, that supposed fake could be the real deal.”

“W-Wait, is this stone the Royal Gem or isn’t it?!” Angemon asked.

“Dunno. But, if you’re looking for the real one and that’s it, it’d be a real shame if you dropped it somewhere,” Anastasia said, briefly glancing over at Lira.

“…I sense no power from this gemstone,” Angemon said.

“Can’t tell you if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

“That means that this pathetic stone is a FAKE!” Angemon snapped.

“Good; so throw it away. I certainly don’t need a fake stone taking up any space in my castle.”

“…Wait. You’re trying to fool me into throwing this away, aren’t you?! This is the real stone, isn’t it?! How dare you try to trick me into throwing away the real gem?!”

“Fine, DON’T throw it away! I don’t care!” Anastasia exclaimed in an exasperated voice.

“…How do I know you aren’t trying to trick me into—”

“FOR THE LOVE OF ARCADIA, SHUT THE HELL UP!”

“Okay, okay! But…I still feel like I’m being tricked…”

“My son, there is only one way for you to truly know if you are being deceived.” The Angemon and Angewomon in the air parted away from the opening in the ceiling, and another Digimon, one much taller than Angemon and wielding a key-shaped sword, descended to the blood-stained ground.

“Colonel ClavisAngemon,” the Angemon said reverently, bowing down to the newly arrived Angel.

“My child; look into the eyes of this lovely woman. Tell me; are they the eyes of a liar?” ClavisAngemon asked.

“…No, sir, they are not.”

“Then, tell me…How were you so easily deceived?” ClavisAngemon spoke in a calm and gentle voice, but I had a dreadful suspicion that he was anything but patient.

“I…I—”

“A sinful and wicked heart can easily be lead astray by one’s own thoughts and feelings,” ClavisAngemon continued. “…Her Majesty, the Priestess of Dawn, has no need for vile sinners in her army. Begone!” ClavisAngemon reached and placed a single finger on Angemon’s forehead; a golden beam of light erupted around the Digimon, and in a matter of seconds, he was completely gone. The Angemon and Angewomon in the air all fell silent as their friend faded into dust. “O my fallen comrade; may the light of Zenith Gate purify your corrupt soul, so that one day, you may be reborn anew…”

“…Who the hell are you?!” Anastasia asked.

“Hm? Did my errant comrade not mention my name? I am ClavisAngemon, sub-commander of the Radiant Army,” ClavisAngemon said. “It is by the will of the Priestess of Dawn that I shall take possession of the Royal Gemstone of Valneva. The one you handed to my comrade was most assuredly a falsity. Now, it would behoove you to tell me the location of the real gem…lest something horrid occur to that precious young woman you are attempting to safeguard from me.”

“…I don’t have it anymore,” Anastasia muttered.

“Are you certain? You know what will happen if you lie to me,” ClavisAngemon said.

“And you know what will happen if you try to harm Ilora,” Anastasia responded coldly.

“Then all the more incentive to tell me everything I want to know.”

“It was me! I took it!” Lira suddenly shouted. “I took it…but, I lost it somewhere in the Trillium Mountains. I dropped it…”

“…Hm. You’ve very honest eyes for a thief,” ClavisAngemon said, saying the word ‘thief’ in a disdainful voice. “Tell me; do you possess any other gemstones?”

“Come on; do you really thing I’d be so stupid as to bring them with me?” Lira asked.

“Hm…No, I suppose not…” ClavisAngemon planted his weapon in the dirt and looked into Lira’s eyes. “…You tell the truth, little one. Our target is not in this castle. We shall take our leave of you now.”

“Don’t give me that!” Anastasia snapped. “Nobody barges into MY castle and threatens the lives of my friends without paying for it!”

“Don’t worry yourself over this matter, my dear. We shall meet again…Zenith Gate!” ClavisAngemon pointed skywards, and once more filled the room with a warm golden light; I had to shield my eyes until it was gone. As it vanished, not a single Angel Digimon remained in the room.

“…I WILL FIND YOU, CLAVISANGEMON!” Anastasia screamed. “And when I do…mark my words, you will be destroyed!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 210 - Serpentine Princess

Flamedramon



A bright orange sun hung low in the sky; a giant melon contained within a sea of gold. I looked out across the horizon at the shifting desert sands of the Cyprus Desert far in the distance, sitting on the edge of a sandy knoll. I hated the desert more than anything; it reminded me far too much of my past, when I was a Human. My first death. But there was one small memory that filled me with happiness; the first time I met Abigail. That day changed my entire life…

“How long have you been out here?” I looked over my shoulder; Magnamon stood behind me.

“Why did you follow me? There are more interesting people to speak to,” I responded. Magnamon chuckled, and sat down next to me.

“…Coronamon told me all about you. You, and your past…”

“Hmph. That runt…What a time for him to recover his memories,” I sighed. “That damn Apollomon…”

“You’ve had a rough life, Flamedramon. I don’t know how you were able to get out of it alive… twice,” Magnamon added. “It really must have been the Goddess who revived you…”

“I’ve always wondered about that…I’ve lead a wicked life before joining Lachesis; surely that fiery runt told you as much?” I asked.

“He told me everything. Your past…your murders…”

“I don’t want to talk about that part of my past,” I said sternly. “If you’re here to talk…pick another subject.”

“If you insist…Why did you come all the way to Elphierr if you so loathe the desert?” Magnamon asked.

“Jeez; the runt told you that, too?!”

“No, he didn’t; I saw it on your face. And, I made the assumption based on your past…”

“I told you; I’m not interested in discussing my past,” I repeated. “…And you know why I’m here; to protect that gemstone your princess has.”

“Yes, I know. Your guild split into groups to visit all the royals of Celicia,” Magnamon said. “What I want to know is why you personally came here to Elphierr.”

“…It was either me or my wife, Abigail. She has just as many bad memories in the desert province as I do. I wanted to spare her that pain,” I whispered. “She won’t ever admit it…but I know that she still has nightmares. She was born with the Mark, here in the desert, as I was…Only she wasn’t murdered because of it, like me.”

“You must really care about her to do something like that,” Magnamon sighed.

“I do. I love her…Abigail is my entire world; her, and our son, Edmund. I would be lost without them…”

“…Flamedramon…there is something that I must ask you,” Magnamon said nervously. “It is about my fellow knight, Mira…”

“…Yes? What about her?” I asked after a moment’s silence.

“Well…do you think that…Do you think I have a chance—” Before Magnamon could finish his question, a massive bolt of lightning flashed above in the clear sky, with monstrous dark clouds forming overhead. The roar of thunder shook the very earth beneath us as another bolt of lightning struck the ground less than half a mile away. “N-No; that’s where the castle is!”

“Damn it; has the invasion already begun?!” I said to myself. Magnamon and I both climbed to our feet, and began running to the castle. As we drew near, numerous charred bodies lined the road, all pf them dead. “…What the hell is going on here…? Were they all struck by lightning?”

“No; look closer,” Magnamon said, pointing to the ground. “Claw marks…they’re from Raidramon. And not the one partnered with Arkis, either; looks like an entire herd of them. They must be heading for the castle, if they’re not already there…”

“So, these people were just in their way?!” I asked. I looked up to the ever-darkening sky just as a swarm of flying Digimon flew overhead. “Kabuterimon!”

“No…We must hurry!” Magnamon gasped. The two of us continued to run, trying our best to ignore the burned and bloodied corpses that littered the ground. Castle Elphierr was now in sight. The Sandiramon guard posted at the front gate were nowhere to be seen.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

“NOOO! MIRA!!!” My heart sank as Magnamon yelled out, but I remained calm. Mira and Arkis both lay dead in the castle courtyard where we had first battled their partner Digimon. Arkis’s head was a bloody mess, as if crushed in the jaws of a large Digimon. Mira had a large scar across her belly and her neck, and was drenched in blood as well. Her scythe lay snapped in half next to her. “Mira…Mira…Please, don’t be—”

“She’s gone, Magnamon,” I whispered. Magnamon’s interrupted question came back to me. What he was going to ask me…He wanted to know if he had a chance with her…

“Flamedramon, get down!” Out of nowhere, Quetzalmon soared through the air and shoved me out of the way of a bolt of lightning just in time. “Where have you been?! We could’ve used your help a few minutes ago!”

“What happened?! What’s going on?!” I asked.

“What do you think? All these Raidramon and Kabuterimon came in and killed almost all of the Elphierrian Knights! Nobody from our guild was hurt; not yet at least, but that’s only because Coronamon Warp Digivolved into Apollomon just in time!” Quetzalmon exclaimed. “They’re still fighting as we speak! Now, come on! We need your help!” A blast of flames erupted from the second story of the castle. The burnt bodies of three Kabuterimon flew through an opening in the wall and hit the ground in front of me.

“Flamedramon! Up here!” Apollomon bellowed. I nodded, and jumped up to the second floor with Quetzalmon, landing in a vast hallway. I looked back at Magnamon, who was still bent down, sobbing at Mira’s lifeless body.

“…Quetzalmon. Stay with him; make sure he doesn’t get hit,” I whispered. The Mythical Animal nodded, and slithered back down to Magnamon. “Apollomon, where are Queen Nagimon and Nora?”

Apollomon shook his head. “I don’t know where Nagimon is; they managed to separate her from the rest of us,” he sighed. “As for Nora…well, see for yourself.” Apollomon pointed at a tall figure standing off to the side with Matthew, Eleanora, Tamiko, and Kentaurosmon. I gasped.

“S-She…She’s a Bio Hybrid!?” I exclaimed. Nora had become completely different. Her amber hair was changed to a bright green, with two of her bangs changing into snakes. Her lower body had changed to that of a serpent, similar to Nagimon. She was every bit as beautiful as Nora, made only more so by the deep sorrow in her emerald eyes.

“…My name is Gorgonmon,” the Digimon said. “The girl you knew as Nora was only a part of my Stheno Transformation attack. This is my true form.”

“I see…”

“This…all of this happened…because of me,” Gorgonmon whispered, beginning to tear up. “They…they came here because of that stupid gemstone…All of the people that died…It’s my—”

“It isn’t your fault, my lady,” I interrupted. “Those Digimon; they’d have hunted down anyone who had the gem, not just you. The only thing we can do now is prevent any further casualties by fighting on!”

“…You’re right. I know…I just hope I’m strong enough to not slow you all down,” Gorgonmon whispered shyly. I nodded, and looked around the hallway. Countless Raidramon and Kabuterimon stood motionless, and had been turned completely to stone.

“So…how did this happen?” I asked.

“Th-That was me; my Stone Blizzard attack was able to petrify all of them, but it won’t last for very long,” Gorgonmon said. As she said that, a stone Raidramon from behind her immediately shattered, revealing a Digimon beneath the stone. “Medusa Blades!” As the Digimon lunged at Gorgonmon, the princess whipped around and slashed him with the blades on her arms, instantly killing the Digimon. “…There’s not much time. The others will return to their regular forms soon; we must think of a way to stop them before it’s too late…” I looked around that the countless Digimon statues, and saw that many of them were beginning to tremble.

“We’ll have to act fast,” I said.

“…Flamedramon. I realize that this may be a selfish question for me to ask, but…Will you take this and flee?” Gorgonmon reached into her cleavage and pulled out the Royal Gemstone.

“What?! You can’t expect me to just run off and leave you all behind!” I exclaimed.

“Please…if they’re here because of me, then the least I can do is keep you and your guild safe!” Gorgonmon said. “I…I never thought that such an immense army would come here for this gemstone…but we cannot allow them to get their hands on it. Please…”

“…All right, I’ll take it. But I won’t leave you!” I said, taking the gem from Gorgonmon.

“This is an order from the princess of Elphierr.”

“Oh yeah? Well, here’s an order from the leader of Lachesis; we are staying with you!” I shouted. At that moment, all of the Raidramon and Kabuterimon broke free of their petrified forms, and began advancing on us once more.

“We of the Thunder Army hereby lay claim to that gemstone!” one of the Raidramon roared.

“…Come and get it.” A single Raidramon lunged at me, but before he could attack, Gorgonmon slithered up beside me.

“Dreadful Devour!” Gorgonmon opened her mouth wide and, to my surprise, swallowed the Raidramon whole. “Blue Thunder!” Bolts of electricity surged from Gorgonmon’s slim and dainty fingers, striking several Kabuterimon and Raidramon at once and instantly destroying them in the process.

“No way,” I whispered. For the first time, I saw Gorgonmon smile.

“Indeed; whenever I consume a Digimon, I am able to use their attacks as long as they remain in my belly,” Gorgonmon said, turning to me. I saw that her belly had become quite round after swallowing the Raidramon. “Of course…it doesn’t take very much for me to get full…”

“…Are you certain you can handle yourself?” I asked.

“Ugh; depends on how bloated I get from eating too many of these guys…But I should be fine. Trust me, I don’t want to die; not when I have sins that I need to atone for,” Gorgonmon said. Once again, the entire castle began to quake, and the ceiling caved in to make way for a large MegaKabuterimon.

“Oh, my Goddess! That’s…enormous,” I whispered.

“…You guys are going to owe me one massive antacid for the tummyache I’m going to get from this one,” Gorgonmon sighed. “Now, get going!”

“…Fine. Just come back…Just come back alive!”

“NOT SO FAST!” the MegaKabuterimon exclaimed. “We are not leaving without that gemstone! Horn Buster!” The attack of the MegaKabuterimon had me completely enveloped in electricity; I was knocked unconscious in seconds.
 
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